Ivy Perez steered Army-Black Mamba to a four-set victory over the undermanned Choco Mucho, 25-22, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19 for its second consecutive victory in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference, Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Perez dished out 27 excellent sets to go along with nine points on seven attacks, two blocks, and two aces to push the Lady Troopers to the third spot with a 2-1 standing. She also had seven excellent digs in the match.
The Flying Titans, meanwhile, missed four players in Kat Tolentino, Des Cheng, Chery Nunag, and Thang Ponce, who are all reportedly under the weather. Making things worse, the Rebisco-backed squad also lost top performer Aduke Ogunsanya. She landed on Caitlyn Viray’s left foot during a block attempt on Nene Bautista late in the third set.
“Actually naka-dagdag sa amin ng ano yun kasi yung main spiker nila ay wala. Nagkaroon ng chance, sabi ko ‘kaya natin ‘to kasi kulang sila.’ Wala yung threat na napakabigat na player talaga, yung mahihirapan kami i-block talaga. Si [Kat] Tolentino talaga yung pinaghandaan namin,” said Army assistant coach Rico De Guzman.
“Nakita namin, bakit wala siya? Parang nawala yung plano namin. Ayun, hindi naman namin sinasadya na magkaproblema yung kabila. Sinamantala lang din namin na sige, enjoy natin. Pakita natin yung best natin and apply natin yung ginagawa natin sa training,” he added.
The Lady Troopers led by as much as seven points, 18-11, in the fourth set after an attack error coming from Caitlyn Viray.
Ponggay Gaston pulled the Flying Titans to within four, 18-22, after piercing through Army’s blockers. Then Ging Balse and Royse Tubino immediately answered with back-to-back hits to put the Lady Troopers at match point.
Tubino pushed the ball outside in the following play, before eventually sealing the win.
Jovelyn Gonzaga led the balanced attack with 13 points and 19 excellent receptions. Anne Esguerra added 10 points, while Nene Bautista had nine markers and 18 excellent digs.
Anngela Nunag tallied 28 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions. Meanwhile, Jeanette Villareal and Tubino had six markers each to help Army hand the Flying Titans their second consecutive loss.
After losing the opener, Choco Mucho turned a five-point disadvantage in the second set into a 22-19 advantage all thanks to an 11-4 run. The Lady Troopers closed the gap to just one before Ogunsanya outdueled Bautista and Villareal by scoring the final three points to tie the game at 1-all.
The Lady Troopers, down 18-20 in the third frame, went on a 3-0 spurt to tie the game at 21. Both teams exchanged points from there, but Balse and Bautista broke the 24-all deadlock with consecutive hits to take the 2-1 lead.
Viray led the way for the Flying Titans, who dropped to the fourth spot with a 1-2 slate, with 15 points. Ogunsanya had 10 markers in three sets played.
Deanna Wong was limited to just 18 excellent sets in the loss and three points to go along with 21 excellent digs.
Army takes on PLDT on Saturday at 2:30 PM, while Choco Mucho will go up against the undefeated Creamline later that day at 5:30 PM. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.