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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Flying Titans sustain run, crush Defenders

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Games tomorrow (Thursday)

2 p.m. –  Galeries vs Gerflor

4 p.m. – Creamline vs Akari

6 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs PLDT

Choco Mucho, displaying a sense of purpose, used its superior power and near-impeccable blocking as it soared past Gerflor, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, to extend its remarkable run to nine in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig Tuesday.

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Sisi Rondina stayed in flight when she could afford to stay aground, scoring 17 points as the Flying Titans flashed their dominance over their winless rivals to fashion out the lopsided victory, their ninth overall in 10 matches.

They were most impressive in the third where Rondina sustained her relentless assaults, including impressive plays from the backrow, and Maika Ortiz sealed the team’s one-hour and 20-minute victory with a running attack after the Defenders saved one match point with a down-the-line hit.

The win thus primed up Choco Mucho for its final elims match against fellow semifinalist Chery Tiggo for positioning in the semis in Iloilo this Saturday.

The Nos. 1 and 4 teams and the Nos. 2 and 3 squads will dispute the finals berths in a pair of best-of-matches.

Creamline continues to set pace with an 8-0 card with the fourth and last spot still being disputed by three teams although Cignal has the inside track to the coveted Final Four berth with a 7-3 slate and with Gerflor as its final elims assignment on Dec. 5.

The other teams still nurturing slim hopes are Petro Gazz (6-4) and PLDT (5-4).

Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin stuck to his game plan, emphasizing the need for his wards to stay ready, saying: “Kahit sinong kalaban, dapat laging prepared.”

“Medyo maganda ang performance, kahit sinong ipasok, nagde-deliver, including Bea (de Leon),” added Alinsunurin. “Sobrang thankful ako na nag-perform lahat talaga, kahit sinong ipasok mo, kahit yung mga players na hindi mahaba ang warm-up, pagdating sa loob, talagang gustong maglaro.”

Motivated by an opening-game defeat to sister team Creamline last Oct. 15, Choco Mucho swept its next nine games, marked by five shutout victories and capped by a five-set triumph over PLDT last Thursday.

Rondina spiked another solid game with 14 attack points and two blocks, while Bea de Leon anchored the team’s net defense with five kill blocks on her way to a 13-point performance.

“We made adjustments in spacing. We had organized attacks and Deanna (Wong) orchestrated our plays,” said de Leon.

“It’s been a while, so yung confidence ko in this game tumaas din. Hopefully nga pagkadating don, once na tumingin si coach at may kinailangan yung team, ready kami talaga.”

Isa Molde and Aduke Ogunsanya added six markers apiece while Caitlyn Viray and Ortiz chipped in five and four points, respectively, for Choco Mucho.

Mary Grace Berte came away with eight points while Menchie Tubiera and Danika Endrauli scored seven points each for the Defenders, who joined the Galeries Tower Highrisers in the cellar with 0-9 slates.

Choco Mucho converted 37 attack points from 90 attempts while Gerflor made 29 of its own but the Flying Titans produced 10 blocks against the Defenders’ measly one-block effort.

The crowd favorites likewise pounced on their rivals’ miscues, drawing 21 points while giving up just 12 points on unforced errors.

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