Jia Morado shrugs off Finals MVP plum: “It isn’t as sweet as a championship”

For Creamline’s main playmaker Jia Morado, no individual accolade can compare to seeing the team’s hard work come into fruition.

The Cool Smashers culminated their perfect run in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference with a championship, dominating the Petro Gazz Angels in their best-of-three title series.

Creamline’s successful title defense also saw their players stepping up their game to snag individual awards, led by Conference Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Best Open Spiker Jema Galanza, together with Best Libero Kyla Atienza.

Morado was also one of the decorated Cool Smashers, finishing as the tournament’s Best Setter–her fifth straight time to receive such distinction in the league.

Her playmaking efforts for Creamline in their finals series against Petro Gazz didn’t go unrecognized as she was also given the Finals MVP award, her third in the league.

But while Morado expressed joy with her individual honors, seeing her team play their best and get that hard-earned title was more important to her.

“‘Yung individual awards, bonus siya. But it isn’t as sweet as a championship,” Morado said.

The Cool Smashers completed their undefeated 20-0 run in the tournament with a Game Two over the Angels in straight sets, 29-27, 25-22, 27-25, last Saturday in the Filoil Flying V Center.

Morado credited her squad for keeping their eyes on the prize and continuing their dominance with every game, noting their hunger to win since losing the championship to Petro Gazz in this year’s Reinforced Conference.

“We’re happy na naka-bounce back kami from last conference. From the next day noong previous conference namin until now, kitang-kita na everyone was head on [and] laser-like focused talaga sa training–everyone knew what to do,” she said.

Team captain Alyssa Valdez led the winning effort for Creamline with 18 points, while Galanza added 15. Morado also played a great game with 24 excellent sets, outperforming Petro Gazz’ Djanel Cheng who recorded 18.

Commending Creamline’s total collective effort to win the title, Morado said the Finals MVP award could have been given to anyone in their team.

“Thankful ako [for the award], pero it was never my goal naman to get them. Actually kung ako nga papapiliin, anyone in our team ‘yung Finals MVP–ako, instrumento lang ako para makatulong sa kanila,” Morado said.

The setter also credited her team’s perseverance and character that helped them defend their Open Conference crown, addressing critics who said the tournament proved easy for them.

“There were a few people who said na masyadong madali na na-sweep ‘yung season, but there were a lot of stories behind the scenes–ang daming obstacles na bumigay, ‘di ba?” Morado said.

“We really made it a point to power through and be there for each other and trust our whole coaching staff na hindi kami pinapabayaan until the end,” she added.

With the season over for Creamline, Morado and Valdez are set to focus on a higher goal with the Philippine national women’s volleyball team, who looks to end their podium finish drought in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.

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