Cool Smash­ers se­cure No. 1

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - @mar­creyesINQ By Marc An­thony Reyes

Alyssa Valdez, cur­rently train­ing with the na­tional squad in Ja­pan, has asked per­mis­sion to play for Cream­line upon the team’s ar­rival on Wed­nes­day.

Na­tional team coach Fran­cis Vi­cente has yet to de­cide whether she will be al­lowed to play be­cause of­fi­cials have planned for them to be quar­tered all the way to the Asian Se­niors Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onships set Aug. 9.

Valdez missed three games with the Cool Smash­ers af­ter join­ing the 17-day train­ing camp. And dur­ing a bull ses­sion with the na­tional team Sun­day, she ex­pressed in­ten­tion to play as soon as pos­si­ble.

At any rate, there ap­peared to be no im­me­di­ate need for the su­per­star spiker to suit up for Cream­line which swept the elim­i­na­tions with a vic­tory over Per­las-BanKo Sun­day night in the Pre­mier Vol­ley­ball League Open Con­fer­ence at Filoil Fly­ing V Cen­tre.

The 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 28-26 vic­tory was the sev­enth—and fourth with­out Valdez—in as many matches and as­sured the Cool Smash­ers the No. 1 spot in the semi­fi­nals.

Ch­eska Racraquin scored a ca­reer-high 23 points, in­clud­ing four of her team’s last six points, for Cream­line which will face the No. 4 ranked team in the semi­fi­nals.

The Per­las Spik­ers dropped to 3-4, their fate hang­ing in the bal­ance as a win by Po­cari Sweat over Bal­iPure late Sun­day would force a play­off for the last semis slot on Wed­nes­day. If it wins, Bal­iPure will com­plete the semi­fi­nals cast.

“This win gave us the con­fi­dence go­ing into the semi­fi­nals and proved that we can beat them,” said Racraquin, the 20-year-old open spiker from San Beda.

The Cool Smash­ers worked very hard to take the win, climb­ing from big deficits in sets 2 and 4 be­fore hack­ing it out.

In the fourth frame alone, the Cool Smash­ers stared at a 17-8 deficit.

Cream­line’s Ch­eska Racraquin de­fies the de­fense of Per­las’ Kathy Ber­sola and Sue Ro­ces.

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