Choco Mucho lost their first assignment in the 2021 Asian Women's Club Volleyball Championship after falling to hosts Nakhon Ratchasima in straight sets, 11-25, 26-28, 17-25, at the Terminal 21 Hall in Thailand on Friday (1 October).
The Filipinas overcame a lethargic start to put up a gallant stand down the stretch, but the Thais proved too much as they gained an early advantage in Pool A of the preliminary stage.
Reeling from an opening-set loss, Choco Mucho brought the fight in the second frame where the playmaking brilliance of Deanna Wong allowed Kalei Mau and Mylene Paat to deal stifling damage on Nakhon Ratchasima.
Mau then carried the scoring burden, connecting on four consecutive attacks to put Choco Mucho at set point, 24-22.
However, the Filipinas committed a string of untimely errors that tipped the scales back to Nakhon Ratchasima's favour, before Kannika Thipachot, Chatchu-on Moksri and Kuttika Kaewpin snatched the lead en route to a two-set buffer.
It was all Nakhon Ratchasima in the decisive third set, where Choco Mucho lost steam and struggled to build momentum with its offence going adrift.
Despite stringing contributions from several of its reliable stalwarts, Choco Mucho dealt with a lack of firepower and defensive impact in light of Majoy Baron and Kianna Dy's absence after the two were both lent to the shorthanded Rebisco Philippines.
Choco Mucho will attempt to chalk a breakthrough win when it faces Zhetysu of Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.