Creamline battled back from a huge deficit in the fourth then out-steadied Perlas-BanKo in the stretch to pound out a 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 28-26 victory last night and post a seven-game sweep of the Pre-mier Volleyball League Open Conference elims at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Cesca Racraquin fueled and anchored the Cool Smashers’ fightback from 7-17 down in the fourth and the top-seeded squad pounced on the Perlas Spikers meltdown to snatch the victory and head to the Final Four without a loss.
“This is a big confi-dence-boost for us as we head to the semis,” said Racraquin, the San Beda ace who continued to step up in the absence of top gun Alyssa Valdez. She finished with her best game in a Creamline uniform with 23 hits.
The loss was so frustrating for the Perlas Spikers, who had hoped for a victory to at least assure themselves of a playoff for the last semis berth. Instead, they would hope for a BaliPure setback to Pocari Sweat (being played at presstime) to force a sudden death for the last slot at 3-4.
A BaliPure victory, however, will slam the door shut on Perlas-BanKo and net the Water Defenders the last seat for a clash with the Cool Smashers in the best-of-three semis in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
“This will be good for her (Racraquin) – playing in the PVL and getting the experience when she goes back to San Beda in the NCAA,” said Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro.
Perlas-BanKo came out strong to take the opening frame but Cream-line imposed its will and took the next, including the third on deuce points.
Needing a win to force a decider and boost their semis hopes, the Perlas Spikers dominated majority of the fourth and looked headed to a fifth set after racing to a 17-7 lead.
But Racraquin and the rest of the Cool Smashers refused to give up, piling up points on hits and on their rivals’ miscues and surviving a series of deuce points to snare the victory.
Standings W L
*Creamline 7 0
*Pocari 5 1
*Air Force 5 2
BaliPure 3 3
Perlas-BanKo 3 4
UP 2 5
Adamson 1 6
Power Smashers 1 6
*Mega Builders 6 1
*Cignal TV 6 1
*Air Force 5 2
Sta. Elena 4 3
Army 4 3
IEM 2 5
Gamboa 1 6
Café Lupe 0 7