Maddie Madayag turns emotional after Choco Mucho books PVL semis return
MANILA, Philippines — Maddie Madayag couldn’t hold back her tears after nailing the game-winning block on PLDT spiker Erika Santos that ended the four-tournament semifinal drought for the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
Madayag unleashed her conference-best 18 points built on 13 attacks, three blocks, and two aces to finally bring back the Flying Titans to the All-Filipino Conference semis after more than a year with their eighth straight win in nine games.
“I was really emotional after the victory, because it was such a great game. We were down so many points, but we were able to catch up,” said emotional Madayag in Filipino after their 25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-12 win over PLDT.
“Everytime I stepped in the court, I was telling everyone ‘Please! Let’s catch up.’ We were looking at each other with intensity, we wanted to last until the end and finish it properly because we worked hard for this.”
The thrilling win took the star middle blocker to the memory lane. She was still recovering from an ACL injury when the Flying Titans last played in the semifinals of the 2022 Open Conference, where they got swept by eventual champion Creamline.
Back in the semis
Her team got eliminated by the Jaja Santiago-led Chery Tiggo Crossovers with a series comeback inside the PVL bubble in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte two years ago and also went down with an ACL injury in the battle for third.
“It was only after the win that it sunk it that we’re able to make it to the semis. The last time we had a chance for the semis was in Bacarra, Iloilo where I suffered my ACL injury. We were supposed to fight for third place so Choco Mucho could reach the podium,” Madayag recalled.
“I’m very thankful to the Lord that we’re able to stick together as a team, which coach has been reminding us.”
Now that the Flying Titans are back in the semis, the former Ateneo star is hungry for more as they are out to finish the elimination round strong and try to make the franchise’s first Finals appearance since joining the league in 2019.
“We’re going where coach Dante wants us to be. We can see that we’re peaking in terms of performance. Hopefully, we can continue that in the semis and the finals,” said Madayag, an original member of Choco Mucho. “It’s such a great feeling that Choco Mucho was able to reach the semis.”
Madayag lauded the resilience of the whole team, which never wavered despite trailing in the game in the first set until their 0-5 start in the fifth set.
“We were a bit scratchy in the first set, so coach reminded us to play in our system and do the things we usually do. I guess that’s what we did…we reminded each other about our roles on the floor and we got the results,” she said.
Madayag also attributed their semis comeback to Sisi Rondina, who used to be her rival from University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 81 finals four years ago before teaming up with them and emerging as one of the Flying Titans’ leaders.
“Our fighting spirit is there. We’re both leaders. So whatever we can do to help, we do it,” Madayag said. “Sisi mentioned before that there’s a possibility that we might class, but that doesn’t matter as long as the outcome of the team’s performance is there. ”
“We don’t take things personality. We say what we need to say and we listen to each other.”