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The Cool Smashers and Crossovers Clash for Mental Advantage

Already assured of berths in the semifinals, Creamline and Chery Tiggo battle on Tuesday with both powerhouses to get a feel of each other for the tougher stages of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference playoffs.

Coaches of both sides will have the option to rest key players or play them all-out to gain a psychological edge as the defending champion Cool Smashers and Crossovers could ultimately wind up facing each other in the title series.

Creamline has an unbeaten eight-game run to protect, while Chery Tiggo is on a seven-game winning streak marked by several close shaves that had the Crossovers displaying their matured mental games. They clash at 6 p.m. at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

With Choco Mucho also in the Final Four, the battle for the last spot is being disputed by Cignal (7-3), Petro Gazz (6-4) and PLDT (5-4). But the HD Spikers have the inside track with the winless Gerflor Defenders as their final elimination round opponent on Dec. 5.

And an upset by the Defenders is what PLDT and Petro Gazz would be looking for as they knock each other out also on Dec. 5.Despite their pristine record, Creamline skipper and multititled Alyssa Valdez stressed the need for hard work, acknowledging areas for improvement: “We still have a lot of lapses and we have to work harder.”

Michele Gumabao has been consistent and with Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza, Creamline has probably the most lethal offensive machine in the league.

Chery Tiggo deputy coach KungFu Reyes, on the other hand, has emphasized building the team’s character and a never-say-die attitude, crucial attributes for the upcoming pressure-packed semis.

“We are still trying to build our character, our never-say-die attitude,” Reyes said in Filipino. “It’s always a collective effort.”

Chery Tiggo has a star-laden lineup that could match Creamline’s with Eya Laure leading.

Meanwhile, Choco Mucho won’t be needing to count on its main players as the Flying Titans take on the Defenders at 4 p.m.



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