Friday , July 12 2024

Sherwin Meneses, Dante Alinsunurin relish PVL Finals ‘chess match’

Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin and Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in the PVL All-Filipino Finals.

Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin and Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in the PVL All-Filipino Finals. –PVL PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines — From playing together at Adamson and steering the Philippine men’s volleyball team as coaches to a historic Southeast Asian Games silver medal four years ago, Sherwin Meneses and Dante Alinsunurin fight for the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference supremacy in the first-ever Creamline-Choco Mucho Finals series.

Meneses has emerged as one of the most successful coaches in the PVL as Creamline eyes its third straight All-Filipino, while Alinsunurin continues to bring his success in men’s division to the women’s pro league after steering Choco Mucho to its first-ever Finals appearance. 

Although the Cool Smashers drew the first blood against the Flying Titans, the three-time PVL champion Creamline coach relished his opportunity to go up against his longtime friend Alinsunurin, whose squad pushed the defending champions to their limits in Game 1. 

“We’re so happy to face each other in the Finals. Our friends and fellow alumni are also happy that we’re facing each other in the Finals. We’re really close to each other. But we have to focus on our respective jobs,” said Meneses in Filipino after Creamline pulled off a 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-22 win over Choco Mucho on Thursday evening at Mall of Asia Arena.

Alinsunurin, who had Meneses as part of his coaching staff when they earned a silver medal in the 30th SEA Games in Manila, is thrilled to face the Creamline coach in the first sister team Finals rivalry in the league.

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“We’re friends and our teams are from the same company. It’s just a series rivalry. But I told him that I felt that I already won to be in this position but we will try to win this series even he is already experienced in the PVL finals,” said an optimistic Choco Mucho coach, who seeks to bounce back in Game 2 on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Nothing personal. What’s important for us is our careers are growing with our respective teams.”

The two coaches had a chess match in Game 1 but Meneses got the last laugh as Creamline banked on another balanced attack to stay unbeaten in 14 games in the tournament and beat Choco Mucho for the 10th straight time.

“It’s like a chess match. The team that draws good players off the bench will win,” the Creamline coach said. “I just tried to counter the switches of coach Dante and I only think of the things that can help my players during the game.”

Alinsunurin, for his part, remained proud and optimistic of his team despite dropping Game 1.

“I’m still thankful for our performance. We are the challenger here and they are the ones on top. We will try to reach or match their level. I think we’re close but we have to maximize what we have since Creamline is used to this kind of game,” Alinsunurin said. “We felt a bit of regret after the game because we had a chance but it’s part of the game. We have to accept what happened to us tonight and make the right mindset and adjustments heading to the next game.”

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Creamline seeks to complete another perfect All-Filipino campaign and capture their seventh PVL crown but Choco Mucho hopes to spoil its sister team’s celebration by forcing a winner-take-all Game 3.

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