Choco Mucho enjoyed a triumphant start to its 2023 VTV Cup campaign, defeating Japan’s Kansai University, 25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22 at the Lao Cai Gymnasium in Vietnam.
Despite a setback in the third set where they trailed by six points, the Flying Titans rekindled their spirit and surged to a 16-10 lead.
The Japanese varsity team, however, didn’t give up easily and managed to narrow the gap to just one point, making the score 22-23.
Caitlin Viray and Maddie Madayag provided the composure Choco Mucho needed, scoring consecutively to secure the victory.
Through the combined efforts of players like Viray, Des Cheng, Cherry Nunag, and Deanna Wong, the Flying Titans extended a narrow 10-8 lead to a more comfortable 17-11 advantage in the first set, eventually taking it 25-17.
Kansai swiftly adjusted and took a 13-9 lead in the second set. Yet, the duo of Sisi Rondina and Viray rallied Choco Mucho back to a 13-all tie.
Kat Tolentino propelled the Filipino team to set point with a successful challenge that confirmed her attack had been touched by the opponent, setting the score at 24-21.
Although the Japanese team fought back to close the gap to one, Tolentino thwarted Kansai’s comeback attempt with a powerful crosscourt hit.
Unfortunately, the Flying Titans couldn’t sustain their momentum in the third set, struggling to find their attacking prowess and managing only 10 points from spikes.
Kansai surged ahead and secured the set with a score of 25-19.
Head coach Dante Alinsunurin chose Rondina, Cheng, Viray, Madayag, Nunag, Wong, and Denden Revilla as his starting lineup.
Next up for Choco Mucho is a match against Vietnam 1 tomorrow at 8 p.m. (Manila time).