Choco Mucho did not allow Bali Pure to spoil Manilla Santos-Ng’s long-awaited return to competitive volleyball on Wednesday afternoon.
The Flying Titans raised the curtains to their Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference campaign on a rousing note, thumping the Purest Water Defenders, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“We’re happy na we won on our first game. Sabi ko nga sa kanila sa huddle… Normally people will say first game jitters,” Choco Mucho head coach Oliver Almadro said. “But sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Mawawala yun if you play maturely. So we really have to play maturely and we really have to stick together and be one.’”
From a two-point gap in the third stanza, 17-15, the Flying Titans took their turn to punish the opposition. They fed off a slew of Bali Pure errors to erect a 22-17 lead — an advantage they never relinquished the rest of the way.
The Water Defenders then snatched momentum in the early juncture of the second frame. But the Flying Titans mounted a wall – fortified by the towering duo of Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino – that flipped a 13-9 deficit into a 22-17 spread.
Tolentino had 14 points off 10 kills, two blocks and two aces. Madayag supplied 11 points built on seven spikes, three aces, and a block, while Bang Pineda chipped eight points. Acy Masangkay tossed 18 excellent sets to go along with 13 digs and two markers.
Meanwhile, Santos-Ng only scored two points, but she made her presence felt in her return after a 10-year hiatus. When she checked in for Shang Berte midway through the opening set, 15-8, the De La Salle legend provided solid reception in the back row. She also delivered booming aces that propelled Choco Mucho to a 6-0 spree, giving her team the largest cushion in the match at 21-8.
The Flying Titans dealt the Water Defenders their 11th straight loss. Before this, the latter went winless in 10 matches back in the Reinforced Conference.
On the other hand, no Water Defender scored in double figures. Menchie Tubiera and Grazielle Bombita topped their team with nine markers apiece.
Choco Mucho shall face the PacificTown–Army Lady Troopers on Wednesday next week. Meanwhile, Bali Pure will try to chalk a win at the expense of the Petro Gazz Angels on Sunday. Both matches will be played at the FilOil Arena.