Grand Slam-seeking Cool Smashers face dangerous Petro Gazz Angels in semis

Games Thursday(PhilSports Arena)2:30 p.m. — Petro Gazz vs Creamline5:30 p.m. — Cignal vs Chery Tiggo

CREAMLINE aspires to inch closer to a historic Grand Slam as it tackles a dangerous Petro Gazz in today’s start of Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference semifinals at the PhilSports Arena.

The Cool Smashers topped the elimination round with an impressive 7-1 record and should ride the crest of its early success as they battle the Angels, who wound up No. 3 following a 5-3 card, at 2:30 p.m.

The reigning Open and Invitational Conferences champion eyes to replicate its 25-19, 16-25, 25-18, 27-25 win in their first meeting this conference last Oct. 8 at this same venue.

It was a triumph that the Creamline locals won as Yeliz Basa drew more support than Petro Gazz’s Lindsey Vander Weide, who unloaded 28 points just like her Turk foe.

Jema Galanza, Alyssa Valdez and a resurgent Ced Domingo and Tots Carlos should help provide the needed back up to Ms. Basa while Vander Weide and MJ Philips would need more assistance from the likes of Jonah Sabete, Myla Pablo and Aiza Pontillas to have a chance.

But Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said its back to zero now.

“Both teams have improved since then so it’s going to be an pretty even match up,” said Mr. Meneses.

Also seeking to bolster their championship bids are No. 2 Chery Tiggo (6-2) and No. 4 Cignal (5-3) at 5:30 p.m.

Unlike in the past, the league will implement a single-round robin format where all entrants will have a chance to play with each other once.

Which means, one mistake would be costly.

“Every game is going to be like a championship game, no room for errors,” said Chery Tiggo mentor Clarence Esteban.

Mylene Paat, who is a favorite to win her first MVP award, said they need to continue to believe in themselves for them to have a crack at reclaiming their old spot on top after last winning it all in the Open Conference in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte a year ago.

“We have to continue to keep the faith and believe and help each other. Those were the reasons we made it this far,” said Ms. Paat. — Joey Villar