BATANGAS CITY — Determined to give coach Tai Bundit a grand send-off, Creamline reasserted its mastery of Ateneo-Motolite, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, to annex the PVL Open Conference crown yesterday at the Batangas City Sports Center here.
The Lady Eagles showed up with a better effort in the opening frame but floundered as the Cool Smashers displayed tremendous composure to prevail before eventually capturing Game 2 in straight sets.
Winning the best-of-three series via a 2-0 sweep, Creamline followed up its Reinforced Conference conquest, capping a banner season for the second year club.
Earlier, BanKo-Perlas claimed its second straight third place trophy with a 25-18, 26-24, 25-21 romp of PetroGazz.
Despite the Finals defeat, it was still a good campaign for Ateneo, which made a huge impact in its first major tournament under coach Oliver Almadro that will help the Katipunan-based spikers heading into the UAAP Season 81 wars in February.
The Lady Eagles started strong by taking a 16-10 advantage but the Cool Smashers got into the groove after the second technical timeout with a 15-4 salvo capped by an Alyssa Valdez kill to clinch the first set.
The game turned out to be the last in the Philippines for Bundit, the amiable Thai mentor who also won two UAAP championships for Ateneo.
Valdez had 13 hits, 12 digs and 11 receptions while Michele Gumabao contributed 12 markers for Creamline.
Cool Smashers playmaker Jia Morado was named Finals MVP after tossing in 39 excellent sets and nailing four service aces.
Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon each scored 10 hits for the Lady Eagles.
Dzi Gervacio had four service aces to finish with 16 points to go with seven receptions, Joy Dacoron added 15 points, including four service aces, while Kathy Bersola had four blocks for a 12-point outing for the Perlas Spikers.
Sweeping the best-of-three series for third place, BanKo-Perlas fully recovered from its painful loss to Ateneo-Motolite in the deciding Game 3 of the semifinals.
Despite all the heartbreaks this season, the Perlas Spikers still had a good year after all, as they even placed third in the Vinh Long Television Cup in Vietnam last October, the club’s first international foray.
Cherry Nunag led the Angels with 10 points, including two blocks while Jonah Sabete chipped in nine markers, 12 receptions and eight digs.
During the awards ceremony in between matches, Valdez, cheered by the big hometown crowd, emerged as the conference MVP.
Valdez, who was also the 1st Best Outside Spiker, won her second PVL MVP award.
Other best individual performers in the season-ending tournament were Valdez’s teammates Jema Galanza (2nd Best Outside Spiker) and Jia Morado (Best Setter), Ateneo-Motolite’s Maddie Madayag (1st Best Middle Blocker) and Kat Tolentino (Best Opposite Spiker), BanKo-Perlas’ Bersola (2nd Best Middle Blocker) and PetroGazz’s Cienne Cruz (Best Libero). (Theodore P. Jurado)