In one brief timeout, Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro uttered the words his charges needed to hear: Show your character.
The Flying Titans responded positively, regrouping in time to snuff out an uprising Black Mamba was mounting, preserving a 25-13, 25-11, 25-23 triumph on Friday at the start of their campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at Paco Arena in Manila.
Almadro’s remarks seemed to hark back from when Choco Mucho, a young team teeming with talent and attitude, suffered a major meltdown in the last conference. Back then, the Titans were on top for most of the tournament, but a shock loss—in the first game of the semifinal series from the hands of Chery Tiggo—broke their resolve.
“Listen,” Almadro pointed at the scoreboard that read 22-all in the third set against the Lady Troopers, who were desperately trying to survive the match. “This game is a test-of-character kind of game. How far can your character get you?”
The response was clear and instantaneous. Choco Mucho starters Caitlyn Viray and Deanna Wong whipped out successive hits to end the Army uprising and hand it its second defeat in the tournament.
Postmatch, Almadro explained the urgency: “The tournament is very short and every game is a must-win. Thank God He gave us the strength to win this game. But we expect things to be tougher as it goes on and our players’ characters become deeper.”
Opposite hitter Kat Tolentino, who led the Flying Titans with 11 points, noted the dip in their performance by the end and blamed it on nerves.
“We had a hard time getting the feels,” she said. “Especially in the service game. We had a hard time gelling like in the first set but good thing everyone came around and helped.”
Except for that juncture, Choco Mucho was displaying overwhelming power against the Lady Troopers.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics didn’t play like a debuting team against a Chery Tiggo side that didn’t play like a champion club in the second game.
It was a trouble-free 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 triumph for F2 Logistics, which imposed its well-placed system to take the early lead in the tournament and strengthen its chances of making it to the next round with a twice-to-beat incentive.
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