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Tolentino drops 27 as Choco Mucho bolsters semis bid at Motolite’s expense


Kat Tolentino and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans shrugged off a slow start, subduing Motolite, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15, 28-26, to stretch their winning surge to four in the 2019 PVL Open Conference, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. 

Tolentino scintillated once again for the Flying Titans to keep their semifinals hopes alive. She exploded for 27 points built on 22 attacks and four kill blocks, while putting up the differential hits that kept Choco Mucho in pace with Motolite in the decisive fourth set.

Knotted at 23 in the back-and-forth frame, Carla Sandoval coughed up a scoring opportunity to give Motolite an  opening to extend the match into a rubber set.

Shang Berte responded with a spike that went down the line to forge a deuce. Unfortunately, she then ended up surrendering a point to Motolite with a botched service attempt.

Down by a precarious 24-25 deficit, Maddie Madayag saved a set point with a rejection over Isa Molde, only to commit another crucial miscue for Choco Mucho in the ensuing sequence.

Fortunately for the Flying Titans, Tots Carlos misfired on consecutive hits that buoyed Choco Mucho to match point. Tolentino then delivered the lethal smash.

With the statement victory over contenders Motolite, Choco Mucho have risen to the sixth seed with a 6-6 card.

“Nakukuha namin yung gusto namin marating. It’s because we’re executing, and naniniwala sila sa sistema at naniniwala sila sa bawat isa,” Choco Mucho head coach Oliver Almadro.

Madayag and Shannen Palec did their respective parts to backstop the hard-hitting Tolentino. Madayag hammered down 15 points laced with three rejections; meanwhile, Palec chimed in 13 markers.

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Kim Gequillana contributed on both offense and defense with nine points to go along with 21 excellent digs. Choco Mucho playmaker AC Masangkay dished out 23 excellent sets.

Defensive specialist Bang Pineda also had a stellar outing of her own, collecting 33 excellent digs and 21 excellent receptions.

“I’m proud of my players because they put joy and peace in their hearts going to this game, and I’m sure yung belief nila sa sarili nila dumadagdag ng dumadagdag every game,” Almadro added. “Sabi ko naman sa kanila walang imposible, but they have to give it to themselves kasi lahat ng mga games namin five sets… Lahat ang nangyayari binibigay namin sa kalaban.”

Isa Molde and Myla Pablo spearheaded Motolite with 14 markers apiece. Molde chipped in 12 attacks and nine excellent receptions. Meanwhile, Pablo — who’s slowly regaining her lethal form — had 13 hits in a losing cause.

Carlos managed 12 markers laced with 24 excellent digs to no avail, as Motolite fell to a two-way tie with BanKo with identical 7-5 slates.

Motolite setter Iris Tolenada tossed 14 excellent sets, while Thang Ponce manned the floor with 28 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions.

Choco Mucho will now prepare for a much-awaited rematch with sister team Creamline Cool Smashers on October 5, Saturday, in Iloilo City. On the other hand, Motolite look to regain their winning ways against the streaking Petro Gazz Angels on October 9, Wednesday, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

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