Choco Mucho made an impressive comeback from a 0-2 deficit to defeat Suwon City in a five-set match, with a score of 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-11 in the 2023 VTV Cup at Lao Cai Gymnasium on Wednesday evening.
The Flying Titans concluded the preliminary round as the third seed with a 3-2 record. The team had already secured a playoff spot before the match, as Kansai University of Social Welfare suffered a loss to Vietnam 1 the day before.
Tied at 9-9 in the deciding set, Yuni Choi’s attack went out, followed by Sisi Rondina’s successful cross-court hit and block, giving Choco Mucho a 12-9 lead.
Yuni quickly redeemed herself by scoring through a block, but Yu-Li Jeong was penalized for a net violation, followed by another error on their side, pushing the Rebisco-backed squad to a match point.
Young-In Yoon blocked Rondina, saving a point for Suwon, but Rondina promptly sealed the victory with a block.
The Flying Titans had to overcome a rough start, dropping the first two sets before rallying in the next two to force a decider.
Choco Mucho stayed competitive in the first set, but the Koreans broke an 8-all tie, surging to a 21-13 advantage through the efforts of Yeon-Jae Lee, Hyun-Ji Kim, and Do-Ah Kim. The PVL squad never recovered, and Suwon took a 1-0 set lead.
In the second set, the Flying Titans found themselves trailing 20-22 after Hyun blocked Tolentino, but former UST star Rondina narrowed the gap to one, 22-23, with an emphatic block. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sufficient as Suwon secured a 2-0 lead.
Choco Mucho managed to regain momentum in the third set, holding a slim 17-15 lead before Rondina initiated a 5-1 run that buried the Koreans at 22-16. Deanna Wong and Cherry Nunag then finalized the set, getting Choco Mucho on the scoreboard.
The Flying Titans maintained their intensity in the fourth set, establishing an eight-point advantage of 23-15 over Suwon, edging closer to forcing a fifth set. Once again, Nunag played a crucial role, scoring with a quick hit before Des Cheng concluded the set.
Choco Mucho will face the second-ranked team from the preliminary round in the Final Four on Friday.