The Creamline Cool Smashers outlasted the Black Mamba-Army Lady Troopers in five sets in their PVL Open Conference match on Thursday. (PVL Media Bureau)

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

The league-leading Creamline Cool Smashers showed grit in fighting back and edging the Black Mamba-Army Lady Troopers in a thrilling five-set Premier Volleyball League Open Conference match at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

Forced to the brink of defeat, the Cool Smashers dug deep and went on to beat the Lady Troopers, 20-25, 25-15, 25-27, 25-19, 15-13, to run their clean state in the ongoing tournament to 3-0.

For the second straight game, Tots Carlos made her presence felt, finishing with a game-high 26 points, 23 coming off kills. Alyssa Valdez had 20 while Risa Sato and Michelle Gumabao added 13 and 12 markers, respectively.

Creamline fell behind 1-2 in the match before marching on to take the fourth set and force a deciding frame.

In the fifth set, it opened with a 2-0 lead before Black Mamba-Army turned things around and fashioned a 9-1 blitz to take a commanding 9-3 advantage.

But the Cool Smashers would regroup, narrowing their deficit to one, 10-9, on the lead of Misses Carlos and Gumabao.

The Lady Troopers got added breathing room, 12-9, after, on a point by veteran Ging Balse-Pabayo and an unforced error by Creamline.

That set up the strong finishing kick by the Cool Smashers, who first tied the count at 12-all and then outscored their opponents, 3-1, the rest of the way, the last two points from Ms. Valdez (a kill and a block), to book the gutsy win.

“We’re so happy we were able to catch up. We just took it a point at a time and played our game and fortunately it paid off,” said Ms. Valdez after the game.

Jovelyn Gonzaga led the Lady Troopers (1-2) with 18 points. She was backstopped by Honey Royse Tubino with 14.

Creamline next plays on Sunday, July 25, against the PLDT Fibr Power Hitters while Black Mamba-Army tries to rebound on July 26 versus the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors.