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PVL: Tolentino, Molde, Ogunsanya deliver vs PLDT as Choco Mucho punches semis ticket


Choco Mucho overcame a 1-2 disadvantage to escape PLDT, 25-21, 23-25, 29-31, 25-15, 15-11 to advance to the semifinals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Kat Tolentino dropped 19 points, all from attacks. Meanwhile, Isa Molde scattered 14 attacks, three blocks, and an ace for 18 points.

The five-set thriller saw the Flying Titans advance to their second-straight semifinals appearance since joining the PVL in 2019.

“Siyempre, hindi na ito eliminations eh. This is the quarterfinals, do-or-die games. So we expect every team to play as hard as they can; to give the very best they can give. Kasi there’s no more tomorrow,” said Flying Titans head coach Oliver Almadro.

“Good thing may twice-to-beat kami, but we don’t think about it eh.”

Choco Mucho – led by Aduke Ogunsanya – opened the final set with a 6-2 blast. Then it committed consecutive net touch violations to bring the High Speed Hitters within two.

PLDT sliced the lead to just one after a miscommunication on the receive by the Flying Titans. They eventually tied the game at 8 off a net touch from the Choco Mucho.

Tolentino gave the Rebisco-backed team the lead anew, converting a cross-court hit. Then Bea De Leon and Isa Molde denied Jules Samonte for the 10-8 advantage.

Samonte answered right back, piercing the Flying Titans’ two-man block. But a 4-0 spurt from The Flying Titans upped the lead to 14-9.

Basas extended the High Speed Hitters’ life with back-to-back kills. Then an attack error from Samonte handed Choco Mucho the win.

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Deanna Wong kept things going for the Flying Titans with 30 excellent sets to go along with 18 excellent digs and two points. Denden Lazaro-Revilla recorded 28 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions.

Ogunsanya finished with 12 points.Bea De Leon, Ponggay Gaston, and Des Cheng contributed eight, six, and five points, respectively for Choco Mucho.

The Flying Titans, who holds the twice-to-beat advantage in the series, won the opener for the early 1-0 lead but the High Speed Hitters threatened to take the match by bagging the hard-fought second and third sets.

Dell Palomata and Mika Reyes played the heroes in the tight third set, scoring three of the High Speed Hitters’ last four points before an attack error from Gaston gave PLDT the 2-1 lead heading into the fourth frame.

“When we lost two sets to one, I just told my players na it boils down into mental toughness and increased faith in themselves, increased faith in the system, and in their teammates – which they did,” said Almadro.

“Kaya nung fourth set, medyo gumanda yung kilos nila. And luckily the Lord gave us the strength, the additional strength to win this game,” he added.

The Flying Titans went on a surge in the fourth frame, ending the set with a 10-point lead off an attack error from Fiola Ceballos to send the game to a decider.

Basas led the way for the High Speed Hitters with 16 points, while Dell Palomata added 15 markers.

Rhea Dimaculangan collected a game-high 36 excellent sets along with five points. Kath Arado had 21 digs.

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Ceballos had an all-around outing with 12 points, 21 excellent receptions, and 13 excellent digs. Samonte chipped in 11 while Reyes only had nine in the win.

Choco Mucho will face sister team Creamline on Friday at 6:00 PM. Meanwhile, PLDT will face the loser of the F2 Logistics-Petro Gazz match in the classification phase on Tuesday at 6:00 PM.

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