Extra day buys training time for Choco Mucho, Petro Gazz
Choco Mucho and Petro Gazz will use an extra day of training to make sure they won’t have to reach for their twice-to-beat advantage when they square off against separate quarterfinal opponents on Tuesday in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Choco Mucho battles PLDT while Petro Gazz faces dangerous F2 Logistics a day after the league welcomes fans back for the first batch of quarterfinal games on Monday.
“Playing with great teams in the eliminations only pushed us forward,” said Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro, whose Flying Titans foiled the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in four sets to clinch the important playoff shield in Group A play, which included Cignal, Chery Tiggo and Army.
Surprise Group A topnotcher Cignal HD and fancied Group B No. 1 Creamline get the first crack at the first two semifinal berths as they take on BaliPure and Chery Tiggo, respectively, on Monday.
The HD Spikers went on to complete a stirring sweep of the classification round, upending their more favored rivals. The Flying Titans, meanwhile, put their act together in time to defang the Cargo Movers as Deanna Wong and Des Cheng stepped up in the clutch to anchor their big victory.
Despite their edge over the High Speed Hitters, Almadro remains wary of their rivals in their 3 p.m. match.
“PLDT is a big team and they have been playing well. So we have to focus on details which we need to improve, like our teamwork,” said Almadro, who boasts elimination round topscorer Kat Tolentino, Aduke Ogunsanya, Cheng, Ponggay Gaston and the league’s leading setter Wong.
“We have to be ready and able to come up with solutions to what PLDT has to offer,” he added.
PLDT, meanwhile, is also cashing in on the extra day rest as it recovers from two setbacks and at the same time tinkers with its play-patterns and makes the necessary adjustments.
Middle blocker Mika Reyes and Dell Palomata will man PLDT’s front line against Choco Mucho’s Bea de Leon and Cherry Nunag with PLDT coach George Pascua hopeful to draw sustained firepower from Jovie Prado, Fiola Ceballos, Joy Soyud, Julianne Samonte, Toni Rose Basas and veteran playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan in an attempt to overcome their young, talented rivals.
It’s also going to be a dogfight when PetroGazz clashes with F2 Logistics in the other match on Tuesday.
While the Angels clinched the twice-to-beat bonus, they will face a Cargo Movers team teeming with championship tradition.
Myla Pablo, Grethcel Soltones, MJ Phillips, Aiza Pontillas, Nicole Tiamzon and Jonah Sabete, along with seasoned playmaker Chie Saet will have to be at their best to prevent a do-or-die match against the likes of Kim Dy, Major Baron, Aby Maraño, Tin Tiamzon, Ara Galang, top libero Dawn Macandili and comebacking setter Kim Fajardo.
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