Jovelyn Gonzaga and the PacificTown–Army Lady Troopers endured a torrid start and rallied late, quelling the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 39-41, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-12, in one of the longest matches in league history, Wednesday.
“Ang ginawa namin sa third set, binaba namin tempo namin. Tayo mag-pace at mag-tempo ng game,” said Army head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Buti sa fifth set, naka-recharge kami sa third and fourth.”
Knotted at 20 in the fourth frame, Gonzaga carried the scoring cudgels. She hammered down consecutive hits that gave PacificTown-Army a breather, 22-20.
After the Flying Titans muffed a scoring opportunity, Alina Bicar and Nene Bautista put up the crucial plays to push the match into a decider.
In the final chapter, the Lady Troopers held a commanding a 10-6 cushion. It proved to be short-lived, though, as Cindy Imbo powered four points in a 5-1 spurt to knot the count at 11.
However, Gonzaga and Bautista restored order for the Lady Troopers, nailing the differential hits that grounded the Flying Titans in the 166-minute match.
Gonzaga – who is coming off a five-setter with Cignal yesterday – poured in a triple-double performance. The product of Central Philippine University had 24 points laced with 26 excellent digs and 16 excellent receptions.
Royse Tubino supplied 21 markers, while Bautista contributed 13. Lutgarda Malaluan and Jem Gutierrez had eight points each, with the former also netting five blocks.
Bicar tossed 24 excellent sets on top of four points. Angela Nunag manned the floor with 20 digs and 14 receptions.
The late stages of the match were a seesaw affair, but the most grueling juncture took place in the opening salvo that went the extra mile. In the frenetic, two-to-win situation, both teams refused to give way. The Flying Titans saved set point after set point. Meanwhile, the Lady Troopers continued digging deep to tip the scales to their favor.
Unfortunately, though, PacificTown-Army coughed a slew of errors and started to run out of gas. Kat Tolentino then sealed the longest set ever played in the 15-year history of the V-League with an ace.
Tolentino fired 23 points, built on 19 attacks, three blocks and an ace in a losing cause.
Maddie Madayag chipped 15 markers. The pair of former Lady Eagles were the only double-digit scorers for Choco Mucho.
Bang Pineda flirted with a triple-double, notching nine points, 29 digs and 16 receptions. AC Masangkay dished out 28 excellent sets on top of five points.
Arianna Angustia had an awkward landing in the latter stages of the match. She managed seven markers.
Bea De Leon still didn’t suit up for Choco Mucho while she continues to work on her conditioning.
PacificTown–Army shall face the Petro Gazz Angels a week from now. On the other hand, Choco Mucho look to bounce back against the same team on Saturday. Both matches will be played at the FilOil Arena.