MANILA, Philippines—Choco Mucho finally slew the ghost of last season’s semifinals, outlasting Chery Tiggo, 25-21, 16-25, 25-17, 17-25, 18-16, Sunday night to remain unbeaten in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at Paco Arena in Manila.
The Flying Titans toiled against the Crossovers’ persistent comeback in the deciding set winning albeit anticlimactically after a Chery Tiggo fumble at match point.
But more importantly, Choco Mucho tied Cignal at the top of Pool A with 2-0 records each. Defending champion Chery Tiggo is now in danger of getting eliminated after suffering its third loss in as many games.
The win also allowed the Flying Titans to move on from the memory of losing to the Crossovers in the semifinals after Game 1 in the series.
For a brief moment, it was staring the Flying Titans in the eye after the Crossovers led, 13-11, in the fifth and final set.
“It’s a confidence booster for us,” said Kat Tolentino, who topscored with 23 points for the Flying Titans including three straight that put them to first match point, 14-13.
Desiree Cheng and Cherry Nunag also rose to the occasion despite being new to the Choco Mucho system. But it was the late entry of team captain Bea De Leon that spelled the difference in crunch time.
De Leon, hardly used in the previous sets, came in and hammered match points for 15-14 and 16-15. Chery Tiggo’s Dindin Santiago, who unloaded 28 points, threw in a game-tying hit for the last time at 16.
But Crossover Mylene Paat hit it long giving the Flying Titan another match point before Chery Tiggo blew an offensive set.
“It was a team effort, I could not have done it without the support of all the girls,” said Tolentino. “It’s not just me. We are so happy we are able to adapt and it shows that our chemistry is getting there.”
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