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Creamline survives Choco Mucho for record-extending 8th PVL title

Still on top.

Despite a rollercoaster campaign, Creamline emerged as champions once again after surviving new-day rival Choco Mucho in Game 2 of the finals, 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, to reign supreme in the PVL All-Filipino Conference on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Cool Smashers kept their cool despite going down 1-2 to capture their fourth straight All-Filipino crown and record-extending 8th overall crown in the league as they continue to dominate the league. 

Creamline had to dig deep in the fourth set after Choco Mucho threatened to come back with a quick 3-0 run capped by a Royse Tubino rejection on Jema Galanza. The Cool Smashers then closed out the frame with a 7-4 run ended by Bernadeth Pons' off-the-block kill as the reigning champions forced a decider. 

A quick 6-2 separation was established by Creamline in the fifth with Tots Carlos and Pons leading the barrage, but Tubino flashed her veteran presence with three straight attacks that cut their deficit to just one, 7-6. 

Pons then came up with the clutch hits, going through the hands of Molde before she denied the latter for the championship point. 

However, it was Bea de Leon who finished it off, taking advantage of an overpass from Deanna Wong to deliver the game-winning point against her former team. 

Galanza, who was named as Finals MVP, top-scored with 20 points on top of 16 receptions while Pons and Carlos poured in 17 and 16 markers apiece with the former FEU standout also grabbing nine digs and 15 receptions for an all-around statline. 

Veteran middle blocker Jeannette Panaga chipped in 13 points while Michele Gumabao and De Leon chimed in with seven each.

The loss spoiled a 31-point outburst from Rondina, who also collared 10 digs, as the Flying Titans faltered once more in the finals. Tubino provided help with 20 points while Isa Molde and Maddie Madayag each chimed in 10 markers. 

The win was a wild ending to a whirlwind run for the Cool Smashers, ending the elimination round at fourth spot and even bowed to Choco Mucho in their semifinals tussle.

With the victory, Petro Gazz also finished third overall as it had higher points ratio than Chery Tiggo.

—JKC, GMA Integrated News