MANILA, Philippines — Creamline’s top gunner Tots Carlos was all praises for Kurashiki Ablaze spiker Asaka Tamaru after their intense and hard-hitting showdown in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference final.
Carlos dropped 27 points and willed Creamline back from a 1-2 match deficit but Tamaru got the last laugh as she scored her 29th marker with a cold-blooded, championship-clinching ace to cap Kurashiki’s thrilling 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13 win on Sunday in front of 8,223 fans at Philsports Arena.
“She’s so good. Ever since we watched their game, she is the one who stands out,” said Carlos, who remained gracious in defeat despite settling for silver.
“I’m really happy for her because all her hard work paid off. For a foreign team that played almost every day and even took the time for outreach, we’re super happy for them because they were quick to adjust in this kind of environment and situation,” she added.
Carlos, who won her fourth Best Opposite Spiker, admitted that Japan’s level is truly world-class as proven by the third division Kurashiki, which swept all their six games and beat Creamline twice.
“Before going to the finals, we reminded each other that we were facing a Japanese team. Regardless of their division, they are organized, hard-working, and talented. That’s what we expected so we had to find a way to stop them,” she said. “They really played well. As you can see, they are really hard working inside the court, showing positive energy.”
Unfortunately for Creamline, their comeback was denied in the fifth set, losing a championship-clinching game for the first time since the 2021 PVL bubble tournament in Ilocos Norte at the hands of the Chery Tiggo Crossovers.
But Creamline remained the winningest club with six titles in nine finals appearances.
“Personally, I’m really happy because it was a tight game. All of my teammates did their best and embrace their roles. No regrets. We really played our hearts out. We really enjoyed the game,” the three-time PVL MVP said. “We are really happy to be in this situation because this will make us stronger.”
Carlos said that the Cool Smashers will take their much-needed rest before seeking redemption in the third conference later this year.
“We will rest for a while. Then, back to work, back to training with our coaches. We just really have to show up and do our best in training,” she said.
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