Their heels cooled after making the playoffs early, the Creamline Cool Smashers return to the floor on Thursday to get their Grand Slam wheels greased and going again when they collide with Petro Gazz in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference (PVL) at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
And Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, who has always said that the playoffs already bring added pressure in itself, knows what his gritty, star-studded charges need to do moving forward starting with the 2:30 p.m. game.
“There’s always pressure in the semis, and that’s the thing we need to conquer,” Meneses said in Filipino as he knows that his Cool Smashers, since the start, have been playing with the proverbial bull’s eye behind their backs with everyone wanting to be the Triple Crown party spoiler.
“Good thing is that we were able to get some rest while the other teams were still playing,” he added. “I just hope we can take advantage of that.”
Creamline has the edge on paper with a local lineup that is loaded on all fronts and an import in Yeliz Basa who is willing to do what it takes to win—even taking the back seat at times.
But ace Alyssa Valdez, the face of the Cool Smashers, doesn’t want the team to get ahead of itself. Especially now with the stakes getting where to it is now.
“Our mindset is to continue taking it one game at a time,” Valdez said. “The field is so strong with all the imports. So we wouldn’t be veering away from our mindset.”
Cignal, the last team to make the Final Four after a tough four-set win over Choco Mucho on Tuesday, battles Chery Tiggo at 5:30 p.m.
—MUSONG R. CASTILLO
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