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Choco Mucho vanquishes Cignal in thriller, sets up Rebisco Clasico finale

December 13 ------ After a long and painful wait, Choco Mucho is heading to the finals of the Premier Volleyball League. For the first time since joining the league in 2019, the Flying Titans finally got the chance to compete for a title after taking down Cignal in four tight sets, 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, in Game 3 of the Second All-Filipino Conference semifinals, Tuesday at the Philsports Arena.  “Finally, nakapasok na kami ngayon sa championship round. First conference pa lang nakita namin talaga yung naging paghihirap nung team talaga, through second conference, talagang nagbunga yung paghihirap namin,” said Choco Mucho head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who is also part of the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference finals with National U-Sta. Elena.

The Rebisco-backed squad’s historic victory was momentarily delayed after Cignal requested a block touch challenge on Vanie Gandler’s hit. However, it was eventually called unsuccessful, awarding the point to the Flying Titans which sealed the thrilling fourth-set affair.

Choco Mucho reached match point after Kat Tolentino fired a searing cross-court hit before Gandler pulled the HD Spikers closer, piercing through the opposing blockers to save a point. The latter then committed the attack error that sealed their fate. “Yun, siguro talagang lumabas lang yung kagustuhan namin today na manalo at makuha yung Game 3. Kita naman sa mga pinagtrabahuhan ng mga bata talaga nagbunga yung pagod namin everytime na may game kami,” said Alinsunurin.

Five players hit double figures for the Flying Titans led by Sisi Rondina, who unloaded a team-high 21 points on 21 attacks to go along with 19 excellent receptions to help assure the team its first podium finish in franchise history. Tolentino fired 17 points on 15 attacks, an ace, and a block while middle blockers Cherry Nunag and Maddie Madayag both added 12 points. Isa Molde had 10 markers, 14 excellent digs, and 12 excellent receptions in another impressive all-around outing. Deanna Wong glued things together with 24 excellent sets while Thang Ponce netted 17 excellent digs in the two-hour, nine-minute contest.

On the other hand, Gandler led the HD Spikers with 20 points while Ces Molina finished with 19 points, nine excellent receptions, and eight excellent digs. Jovelyn Gonzaga was held to eight points while Riri Meneses was limited to just seven in the do-or-die match.

Waiting for the Flying Titans in the finale, which is set to begin on Thursday, 6:00 p.m. at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, is defending champion and sister squad Creamline. Cignal will take on Chery Tiggo in the battle for third series at 4:00 p.m. also on Thursday.


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