Unsung Hero: Atienza’s stellar defense key in Creamline’s Game 1 semis win

Most — if not all — eyes were on Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao when Creamline defeated Motolite in the Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinals of the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference earlier.

Fresh from national team duties training in Japan, Valdez and Morado returned in style for the Cool Smashers in time to lead their troop to its 17th straight victory.

Galanza and Gumabao, meanwhile, have had solid outings anew for the defending champions, who took down Motolite in four sets to move closer to a return trip to Finals.

But while these four ladies took the spotlight, one girl worked silently but effectively behind the scenes.

Libero Kyla Atienza put on another stellar performance protecting the floor, making life easier for Creamline who enjoyed the luxury of five players scoring in double digits.

The 22-year old defensive gem from Far Eastern University scattered 36 digs, more than one-third of the team’s total 91 digs.

Atienza also excelled in reception, providing 20-out-of-26 excellent receive for a whopping 76.92 percent receiving efficiency.

It was, in fact, another day in the office for the Creamline libero, who topped the digging charts and ranked second in the reception department at the end of the elimination round.

Atienza tallied 5.21 average digs per set and 47.93 percent efficiency in reception after the elims, making quite a strong case for the top libero award this conference.

Atienza and the Cool Smashers are looking to finalize their entry to the finals when they take on Motolite anew tomorrow at 4 p.m.

(Image from Facebook/Sports Vision)