Choco Mucho withstood PLDT in four sets, 28-26, 10-25, 27-25, 25-11, to begin their 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference campaign on a high note, Wednesday (July 21) at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Leaning on the towering duo of Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, the Flying Titans brushed aside a second-set meltdown and fended off a tough stand from the Powers Hitters in their first official action since 2019.
"Well, first of all, thank the Lord kasi binigyan niya kami ng (for giving us the) opportunity to play again and to show kung anong meron kami (what we can offer)," said Choco Mucho head coach Oliver Almadro, who would also be the first to point out that his wards still need to refine plenty of rough edges in their game.
"Marami pang dapat ayusin. Alam niyo naman after one-and-a-half year ito lang 'yung unang laro namin, maraming kailangan i-adjust and kailangan pa naming pataasin 'yung level namin because mataas 'yung level ng tournament," he continued.
(Translation: We still have a lot to work on. As you all know, after one-and-a-half year, this was our very first game, so plenty of adjustments are to be made and we still need to improve our level of play because of this tournament's high-level of competition.)
Tolentino hammered down 17 of her 18 points off attacks, while De Leon scattered 15 kills, two blocks and an ace for the Flying Titans.
Deanna Wong provided stability with her playmaking ability to wind up with 26 excellent sets, to go along with 13 digs and four points, while battle-tested libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla manned the floor with 24 digs and nine receptions.
Meanwhile, PLDT suffered its third consecutive loss in as many matches.
The Power Hitters were able to edge out the Flying Titans in the spiking department (50-49), and stand toe-to-toe in blocks (4-4) and service aces (6-6), but their 31 errors to Choco Mucho's 27 spelled the biggest difference that cost them the match.
Isa Molde finished with a game-high 19 points laced with 23 digs and 10 receptions for PLDT that went for naught, while Jorelle Singh and Chin Basas chimed in 19 and 12 points, respectively, in the crushing defeat.
The Cignal HD Spikers entered the winner's circle of the PVL Open Conference after defeating Sta. Lucia in four sets, 25-22, 25-18, 13-25, 25-20.
Janine Marciano and Roselyn Doria delivered the goods for the HD Spikers, who recovered from a three-set loss to Chery Tiggo last Monday (July 19) to improve to a 1-1 record and forge a three-way logjam with Petro Gazz and Black Mamba-Army in the standings.
“Mabilis ang adjustment namin. Imagine one day lang 'yung wala kaming laro and then may laro na ulit. Good thing din kahit papano lumalabas din 'yung naging preparation namin,” said Cignal coach Shaq de los Santos.
(Translation: I’m proud of how fast the team adjusted. Imagine we only had one rest day since our first game before playing a match again. Good thing we're able to display what we prepared for in practice.)
Marciano pummeled all but one of her 14 points from attacks, while Doria scored five of Cignal's nine blocks and four of the team's eight aces to produce 14 markers as well.
Rachel Daquis also left her imprint on the victory as she finished with eight points, nine digs and 10 receptions.
“Hopefully, mas mag improve pa kasi talagang nasa process kami ng transition ng team so sipag lang din," De Los Santos added.
(Translation: I’m hoping that we can still improve because the team is really in a transition process. We just have to work harder.)
Sta. Lucia, on the other hand, could not sustain its momentum from a win over PLDT, dropping to the sixth seed in the standings with a 1-2 slate.
MJ Phillips once again led the Lady Realtors in scoring with a game-high 20 points that went down the drain, while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas saw her 15-point, 14-dig effort go to waste.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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