Star-rich sibling squads start semis series | Inquirer Sports

Star-rich sibling squads start semis series

Against powerhouse Creamline, Kat Tolentino (photo above) leads a Choco Mucho roster deepened by key acquisitions.

Against powerhouse Creamline, Kat Tolentino (photo above) leads a Choco Mucho roster deepened by key acquisitions. —PVL

There’s been a lot of talk about Creamline’s talent depth and why the team is an easy favorite at the start of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference on Friday.

The Cool Smashers’ roster is, indeed, tattooed with some of the biggest names in the sport: Alyssa Valdez, Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Jeanette Panaga, Celine Domingo and Jia de Guzman are a formidable sight to see on the opposite side of the court.


But Choco Mucho’s lineup is nothing to thumb one’s nose at.


Bea de Leon, Kat Tolentino, Deanna Wong, Denden Revilla and Ponggay Gaston form a solid enough core. But then the Flying Titans decided to supercharge their squad with shiny new additions in Des Cheng, Isa Molde and Aduke Ogunsanya.

Small wonder that Valdez called the matchup between the sister squads “exciting” and “entertaining.”

“We just hope to bring out our best,” Valdez added.


Creamline’s edge, however, is that the team has a lot of experience in big moments.

“They won championships in the past so we really have to step up,” said Tolentino, who anchored Choco Mucho’s gutsy 25-21, 23-25, 29-31. 25-15, 15-11, quarterfinal victory over PLDT on Tuesday.

“We’re gonna prepare and treat them like any other team. It’s exciting to be able to go against a sister team,”


Tolentino added of the 3 p.m. encounter at Filoil Flying V Arena.

At around 6 p.m., a hard-charging Cignal HD opens its semifinal duel against Petro Gazz.

“We are optimistic [of our chances],” said Petro Gazz coach Jerry Yee of the Angels’ best-of-three battle against the HD Spikers, the tournament’s package. “I know they have a stellar record this season. They have good rotation and they’ve been playing well. But we’re prepared to face them and let’s see how far can we go.”

Coach Shaq delos Santos has coaxed out inspired performances from Ces Molina, Rachel Anne Daquis, Angeli Araneta, top setter Gel Cayuna and top blockers Ria Meneses and Roselyn Doria and will hope they have more huge game to squeeze out.

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“We still have a lot more to improve but we’re ready,” said Delos Santos. “It’s a different thing in the semis, pressure will be a lot more intense.”

—With a report from Lance Agcaoili
TAGS: Choco Mucho, Creamline, PVL

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