Valdez delivered clutch hits for Creamline to elude a come-from-behind 25-12, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10 win over a gritty Perlas Spikers in the 2021 PVL Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte Friday, August 6.

/ 7 August 2021

Down two sets to one, Valdez unleashed five of her match-high 24 points in the fifth and deciding set to overcome the hard-fighting Perlas in a five-set thriller and solidify their hold of the top spot in the playoffs.

It was again a clutch performance by Valdez who finished with 24 points off 22 from attacks and two aces, as Creamline finished the eliminations with an 8-1 record.

“We give credit for Perlas today. They really give a good fight. Floor defense nila overall total team effort,” Valdez said. 

“We believe sa tiwala ng mga coaches namin na everyone in our team na gagawa,” she continued. 

Valdez also lauded Jema Galanza, who came off the bench and contributed crucial points for the squad with 13 markers. 

“Jema came back at the right time and alam naming hinihintay nya lang din ito we’re just happy for her also,” the three-time league MVP added. 

The open conference defending champions dominated Perlas Spikers early in the first set but this was stopped as the latter found their groove and won the second frame with a couple of net points from Roma Doromal and Jeanette Villareal after being down 21-22. 

The Spikers maintained their pace in the third set as they led all throughout the frame and forced Creamline to commit errors down the stretch.

However, Creamline was just not meant to be denied and stopped the bleeding in the fourth set, firing a 4-0 run en route to a comfortable 24-19 lead at set point, forcing a decider. 

The Cool Smashers seized control of the fifth set and scored back-to-back kill blocks for a 6-2 lead.

Creamline relied on Galanza, Tots Carlos, and Valdez who pulled off a variety of attacks for a commanding 12-6 separation.

Perlas Spikers tried to trim the deficit 9-12, but two attack errors from Heather Guino-o and a Valdez kill gave Creamline the victory.

Carlos was also instrumental as she ended with 20 points, 21 digs, and 12 receptions while Michele Gumabao, who only suited up for the first three sets, logged in 11 markers. 

Cherry Rose Nunag top-scored Perlas with 17 points with 13 kills, followed by Guino-o who scored 14 points on 11 attacks, and Jho Maraguinot who had 12 points.

Creamline, who is secured of the top spot in the semifinals, will battle the fourth seed which depends on the rankings of succeeding teams Choco Mucho Flying Titans (6-1), Chery Tiggo Crossovers (6-2), and Petro Gazz Angels (6-2) starting on Sunday.