PVL: Prisilla Rivera’s record 44 points propel Akari past Choco Mucho
MANILA, Philippines — Prisilla Rivera delivered a record-setting 44 points as Akari survived Choco Mucho in five sets, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12, to keep its semifinal hopes alive in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The three-time Olympian from Dominican Republic unleashed the best scoring game in league history, nailing 39 kills, four aces, and a block on top of her tremendous defensive effort of 14 excellent receptions.
The Power Chargers failed to close out the match in the fourth set, but the 37-year-old spiker refused to give up, scoring seven points in the fifth, including the last four points to edge the gritty Flying Titans in a classic two-hour and 55-minute match.
Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito lauded not only the scoring of Rivera but also her leadership of their young team.
LOOK: Prisilla Rivera of the Akari Power Chargers holds up a paper with number "44." Rivera set a new PVL scoring record tonight with 44 points off 39 attacks, four aces, and a block. | 📷: @LanceAgcaoilINQ pic.twitter.com/XAjnklKhYD
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) November 3, 2022
“I’m very proud of her. It’s not because of what I think. I think Akari brought her to shine here and make our league stronger so congrats to her, congrats to her teammates that helped her,” said Souza de Brito. “She’s amazing, she’s a three-time Olympian. Every training she comes to practice to prove herself.”
Rivera broke the league record previously owned by Banko-Perla import Kia Bright, who scored 41 points in a five-set defeat to PayMaya in a do-or-die semifinal match last July 6, 2018 when PVL was still known as Shakey’s V-League.
Pocari Sweat import Michelle Strizak also scored 40 points in their five-set loss to Air Force last May 25, 2017.
PLDT import Elena Samoilenko scored 35 points twice this conference, followed by Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s 32 points in the 2021 PVL bubble Finals Game 3, and Kat Tolentino’s 31 last Invitational Conference.
The Power Chargers averted a 2-4 start in the fifth and took a 9-6 advantage off Gen Casugod’s ace. But Odina Aliyeva kept the Flying Titans afloat, cutting the deficit to one, 11-10, before Rivera scored Akari’s last four points, including a crucial point where she called for a block touch challenge and was deemed successful to reach match point, 14-11.
Janine Marciano was also instrumental for Akari with 18 points and 13 digs. Erika Raagas and Krich Macaslang had 18 and nine points, respectively. Rachel Jorvina protected the floor with 17 excellent receptions and 13 digs as they ended a three-game skid with an improved 2-4 record.
“I remember I told you guys in the past that every match that we’re gonna play, we’re gonna grow and improve because one thing that we don’t have unlike the others is time playing (together). Every match is a challenge for us but I know, step by step we will improve. I’m really happy for all these guys, all of them,” Souza de Brito said after his team overcame 35 errors.
Aliyeva was the lone bright spot for Choco Mucho with 26 points, 24 receptions, and 13 digs only to suffer their second straight loss, dropping to 2-3.
The Flying Titans played without libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla, who was not in libero uniform due to a right foot injury as Thang Ponce and Regine Arocha filled in her role.