PVL: Sisi Rondina posts another pro best, leads Choco Mucho past Petro Gazz in crucial win
MANILA, Philippines — Sisi Rondina reset her pro-career-high to lead Choco Mucho’s collective effort in staving off Petro Gazz in five sets, 25-22, 25-15, 22-25, 18-25, 15-10, to keep its semifinal hopes alive in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Saturday in front of 8,214 fans at Philsports Arena.
After a five-set collapse against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers last Tuesday, the Flying Titans made sure to avoid another heartbreaker with their semis chances on the line as Rondina kept them afloat despite blowing a 2-0 lead with 29 points built on 25 spikes and four aces on top of 11 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
Choco Mucho fell to a 1-4 start in the fifth set before Des Cheng’s hit and Cherry Nunag’s big block on Remy Palma gave them lead, 10-8, but Jonah Sabete stopped the bleeding for Petro Gazz.
Caitlin Viray also stepped up when it mattered most, scoring three straight kills for a 13-9 advantage before Sabete blocked her next attempt. However, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas committed a crucial attack error that pushed the Titans to match point, 14-10, followed by Rondina’s game-winning attack that end the two-hour and 19-minute match.
“We’re happy but at the same time, it’s really tiring to play in the fifth set. But earlier, I told them to leave everything on the floor every set even there were sets that we got upset so we bounced back,” said Rondina. “[We] got each other’s back and we have to score when there’s an opportunity. We showed our teamwork, communication, and eagerness to win.”
Nunag also powered the Flying Titans with 13 points including two blocks. Cheng and Viray had 12 points each with the former also tallying 16 excellent receptions, while Maddie Madayag added nine markers.
Choco Mucho forced a triple tie at 3-1 with F2 Logistics and Cignal, which it will take on Tuesday in a pivotal Pool B game.
“Before we entered the court, I told my players that we really need to win this game to reach the semifinals. My players delivered and executed whatever adjustments we made during the game,” said coach Dante Alinsunurin in Filipino. “It was a total team effort. We’re really thankful.”
Petro Gazz finished 3-2 in Pool B as Choco Mucho took its semis fate out of the Angels’ hands.
Sabete and Grethcel Soltones led the Angels with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Pontillas had 14 points and 11 digs, as Palma added 12 points.