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Cool Smashers and Power Hitters eye semis berths against separate opponents

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CREAMLINE Cool Smashers — PREMIER VOLLEYBALL LEAGUE

PLDT and Creamline gun for semifinal berths as they tackle Choco Mucho and Chery Tiggo, respectively, on Thursday in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

Tied at second with 3-1 records, the Power Hitters clash with the Flying Titans at 2:30 p.m. while the Cool Smashers face off with the already-ran Crossovers at 5:30 p.m.

A win would propel PLDT and Creamline straight to the semis alongside Cignal (4-1), and foreign teams Kobe Shinwa of Japan and King Whales of Taipei.

Choco Mucho is expected to give PLDT a tough challenge as the former would need to sweep its last two games, including one against eliminated Petro Gazz (1-4) on Saturday, to have a chance at snatching the last spot to the semis.

And there is hope Kat Tolentino, Des Cheng, Chery Nunag and Thang Ponce could return after sitting out several games due to health reasons.

The four were actually given the green light to play last game, but Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro decided to sit them out due to conditioning.

The Flying Titans knew the stakes are high as one defeat means they’re out of it all.

For Creamline, the reigning Open Conference titlist, it is hoping to beat a Chery Tiggo squad that is already out of the running with a 1-4 mark.

Expect the power-hitting troika of MVP leader Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and skipper Alyssa Valdez to lead the way along with setter Jia Morado and middle-blockers Jeanette Panaga, Ced Domingo and Risa Sato.

A win for the Cool Smashers would also catapult them in a tie for first with the HD Spikers, who absorbed their first defeat at the hands of the Angels in a 19-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-14, triumph on Tuesday. — Joey Villar