Make it eight Finals appearances for the Cool Smashers.
Jia de Guzman was still gasping for air moments after the Creamline Cool Smashers hammered out a 25-22, 25-23, 25-16 win over the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals on Tuesday.
It was understandable. After all, the Cool Smashers gave it everything they got to beat the Cargo Movers and punch a ticket to the finale of the opening conference.
“We’re so overwhelmed and really grateful for this win,” said De Guzman, who had 23 excellent sets in the contest before over 7,000 screaming fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I know we missed the Finals last conference. Everyone was ready to step up. Everyone worked hard in training,” said De Guzman post-game.
Although it was a straight-sets victory, the Cool Smashers had to bleed for every point. Tots Carlos, Michelle Gumabao, and Jema Galanza did most of the damage upfront. But it was Galanza who put the nail in the coffin via a combination play.
De Guzman commended her teammates, who all stepped up after the Cool Smashers missed out on a Finals appearance in the Reinforced Conference and lost star Alyssa Valdez to a knee injury.
“I think at the end of the day it really boils down to the team culture that we built. It took years to build. It’s not easy to bounce back from what happened last conference,” she said.
“But like I said earlier, everyone was willing to step up to the challenge, and nakita namin yun the past two games, the whole conference talaga.”
Creamline awaits the winner in the other semifinal pairing between the PLDT High Speed Hitters and Petro Gazz Angels, who will dispute the last Finals spot on Thursday.