MANILA, Philippines — Although Creamline has already secured a semifinal berth, setter Jia De Guzman believes the Cool Smashers should play like they are still fighting for contention when it wraps its elimination round campaign against sister team, Choco Mucho, on Thursday in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at Mall of Asia Arena.
The sister squads meet for the last time this 2022 season as the Cool Smashers and Flying Titans clash at 5:30 p.m. with the latter seeking to boost its semifinals chances with a 3-3 record.
Despite the Cool Smashers holding a league-leading 6-1 record, De Guzman was far from satisfied after they showed signs of complacency in their last two games, where they blew a two-set lead and fell to F2 Logistics in five sets and dropped a set before overcoming the winless United Auctioneers-Army last Saturday.
“The past two games, I think the teams we went up against needed the win more than we do. So I think we have to start from zero again and fight like we don’t have that semis spot yet,” said De Guzman. “We have to get rid of the complacency that people might have been seeing, and we just have to work with what we have.”
The multi-awarded playmaker admitted all their opponents have leveled up this conference, where Creamline tries to achieve a historic Grand Slam.
“Every set we go into, we have to act like it’s the first set,” she said. “We have to give it also to our opponents. We know they prepare as much as we do. But one thing that our coaching staff repeats to us, every timeout, every training is we have to be consistent. Not just skill-wise, but also our energy and will to win. It has to be consistent up until the end of this tournament.”
De Guzman will have another day at the office distributing the offense to wing spikers Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, and Turkish Yeliz Basa as well as substitute Tots Carlos and middle blockers Celine Domingo and Jeanette Panaga.
The Cool Smashers will try to assert their mastery of the Flying Titans, who haven’t won against them since joining the league in 2019.
Choco Mucho interim coach Edjet Mabbayad seeks to end the dry spell as he banks on import Odina Aliyeva, Kat Tolentino, Des Cheng, Deanna Wong, and Denden Lazaro-Revilla to boost their semis chances.
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