Kurashiki Ablaze become the first overseas team to win a PVL championship after defeating the Creamline Cool Smashers in five thrilling sets.
Japanese V.League Division III team Kurashiki Ablaze came into the Philippines’ Premier Volleyball League (PVL) 2023 Invitational Conference looking to put on a fight with the home team favorites, even as a visiting squad. And this, they did, going undefeated throughout the entire conference, all the way to the finals.
The Kurashiki Ablaze were put to the test in five sets, facing the dominant darlings of the PVL, the Creamline Cool Smashers, in the Invitational Conference finals.
The six-time PVL champions opened the game strong to win the first set, showing the Japanese side exactly why they dominate the local volleyball scene. However, Kurashiki came back with a real threat in the following two sets, winning 25-23, 25-19.
In the fourth set, the Philippine team came back with a 25-20 win to force a fifth. However, even though they managed to stay alive, it was ultimately the Kurashiki Ablaze who claimed the win, recording a 15-13 in the final frame.
With this, the Japanese team has become the first-ever overseas team to win a PVL title, and they did so by sweeping the entire tournament, recording six wins and zero losses to lift the crown and dethrone the Creamline Cool Smashers.
But, the homegrown talents did not go home empty-handed. After reaching the finals of the conference, the standout Creamline Cool Smashers were honored with individual awards: Celine Elaiza Domingo was awarded Best Middle Blocker; Diana Mae ‘Tots’ Carlos won Best Opposite Spiker; and Alyssa Valdez was named Best Outside Spiker.
Banner image from PVL on Facebook.