Choco Mucho finally books Finals berth after ousting hard-fighting Cignal crew
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Choco Mucho finally books PVL Finals berth after ousting Cignal

/ 04:30 AM December 13, 2023

Choco Mucho star Sisi Rondina hugs setter Deanna Wong.

Choco Mucho star Sisi Rondina hugs setter Deanna Wong. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Choco Mucho was nowhere near championship contention in the last Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference. In fact, the Flying Titans—despite the huge following they command and the star-laden team that they are—have never come close to winning a title.

Tapping Dante Alinsunurin as coach and making Sisi Rondina come out of her beach volleyball shell has changed all that as the Flying Titans finally got over the hump with a hard-fought 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, 25-23 victory over Cignal on Tuesday night at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City for a shot at the centerpiece championship.

“We finally got into the championship round, since the first conference we’ve seen the team’s hard work,” Alinsunurin said in Filipino after Choco Mucho secured a first-ever Finals appearance in franchise history, sealing a blockbuster best-of-three series with another glamor team in defending champion Creamline.

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Choco Mucho was practically made to bleed for the win by the hard-fighting HD Spikers, who bounced back from a listless first set with a victory in the second before fighting it out tooth and nail in the final two.

“Maybe our desire to win and clinch Game 3 prevailed today, as you can see from how [the Flying Titans] worked for it. Our hard work from every game bore fruit,” Alinsunurin went on.

Choco Mucho won a crucial match point challenge after Cignal’s Vanie Gandler went for a kill.

Rondina went on to drill the HD Spikers with 21 points off attacks, and Kat Tolentino contributed 17 points while Maddie Madayag and Cherry Nunag finished with 12 points each.

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Choco Mucho will come into the title series starting on Thursday still the underdog, with Creamline to take a perfect slate there and having the benefit of a longer break after sweeping Chery Tiggo in their side of the semifinals.

Never lost

Choco Mucho Flying Titans celebrate punching a ticket to the PVL Finals for the first time

Choco Mucho Flying Titans celebrate punching a ticket to the PVL Finals for the first time. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

And despite the long and rich history involving the sister teams, Creamline has never lost to the Flying Titans.

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Choco Mucho’s closest shot at the title before this conference was way back in the 2021 Open Conference when they reached the semifinals only to end up in fourth place.

And through hard work, the Flying Titans would like to believe that this time will be different.“Not even just the series, I think it’s how long it’s taken for Choco Mucho to get to the Finals is what I am so thankful for, it’s been a long journey,” said Tolentino, who has been one of the constants for Choco Mucho from the start.

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“It’s years of hard work for this team and very thankful for coach Dante and Sisi for coming in and bringing out the best in this team,” Tolentino added.

TAGS: Choco Mucho, Sports, Volleyball

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