Dante Alinsunurin says grueling week worth it despite PVL Finals loss | Inquirer Sports

Dante Alinsunurin says grueling week worth it despite PVL Finals loss

/ 12:31 PM December 17, 2023

HIGHLIGHTS: PVL Finals Game 2 Creamline vs Choco Mucho

Dante Alinsunurin Choco Mucho PVL

Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin.–PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Coach Dante Alinsunurin had the busiest and most grueling week of his career after coaching three straight finals games in as many days.

Alinsunurin called the shots for Choco Mucho in Games 1 and 2 of the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference and for National University-Sta. Elena in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference.

But it was all worth it for Alinsunurin after seeing his teams thrive on the biggest stage of men’s and women’s volleyball. Sta. Elena pulled off an amazing come-from-behind 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8 victory to snap Cignal’s 25-game winning streak and rule the inaugural Invitational Conference Final on Friday evening at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The veteran coach, however, needed to cut his celebration with NU short and tried his best to extend the PVL finals series but Choco Mucho fell short to Creamline in five sets, 25-22, 20-25, 27-29, 26-24, 12-15, in front of a record-breaking crowd attendance in Game 2 at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

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He may have settled for silver in the PVL but he was mighty proud of the Flying Titans, who still had a great run pushing the more experienced Cool Smashers to their limits.

“Sobrang pasasalamat talaga sa nangyari kasi sa sitwasyon na ‘to, pinipilit talaga namin na makuha yung championship. Kahit anong pagod at hirap, pag naman nakuha mo na yun at mayroong, magiging, kung ano man yung resulta, is magiging masarap sa pakiramdam namin,” said Alinsunurin, who also had a match on the eve of Spikers’ Turf final with the series opener between sister teams two days ago at Mall of Asia Arena.

“Siyempre natutuwa naman ako sa nangyari kasi finals ako sa isang liga tas finals rin dito. Sobrang hindi ko ma explain. Parang sobrang lutang ba na ‘ah parang kaya ko pa lang gawin tong ganitong sitwasyon’ pero syempre hindi lang naman na credits sakin yan, credit din sa mga coaching staff ko na tumutulong sakin, yung management din, NU and Choco Mucho, na laging sumusuporta sa akin para mas maganda yung takbo ng programa ng bawat team,” he added.

Alinsunurin started the year parting ways with the Philippine men’s volleyball team, baring that he was removed from the post after he accepted the job from Choco Mucho. 

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But the doubts that he can’t handle multiple teams didn’t stop him from making history as NU had a perfect UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball campaign followed by a Spikers’ Turf title to end the year and Choco Mucho made its first franchise podium finish with a bronze in the VTV Cup in Vietnam, which it translated to a first PVL Finals appearance in the season-ending conference.

Choco Mucho Flying Titans PVL

Choco Mucho Flying Titans.–PVL PHOTO

Despite their runner-up finish, the Choco Mucho coach was proud of the Titans for leaving everything on the floor.

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“Sobrang happy ako sa naging performance namin ngayon sa laro, in terms of skill, kung ano yung dapat gameplan namin talaga, nagawa namin eh, pero talagang ang hirap kalaban talaga ng Creamline. Sobrang happy na rin ako sa achievement na to kasi galing kami sa seventh place ngayon nasa ibabaw na,” Alinsunurin said. 

“Talagang gusto nilang mag champion kasi ang tagal-tagal na rin nilang hindi nakuha. Yung second place ka nga, sobrang tagal na kaya sobrang emosyonal sila. Pero hindi pa naman tapos sabi ko sa kanila, alam niyo naman yung naging pagkukulang natin ngayong taon, ang importante lang eh natututo tayo,” he added.

The Flying Titans dropped their first game against the Cool Smashers but won 10 straight games despite losing Des Cheng due to an ACL injury early in the elimination round to finish second with a 10-1 card. They collapsed in five sets to start the semifinal series with Cignal but fought back and won two consecutive games to book their first PVL Finals.

Choco Mucho also had two individual awardees with Rondina emerging as the MVP and Thang Ponce winning the Best Libero.

The players credited Alinsunurin for their rise in this conference but the decorated volleyball coach stressed that he couldn’t do it without the cooperation and hard work of the whole team.

“Sobrang thankful ako sa kanila. Hindi na ito sistema ko eh, sistema na to ng Choco Mucho kasi ito na yun eh, nakuha niyo na eh, ito na yung legacy natin na kailangan hindi na coach Dante system, Choco Mucho way na lang yung mga ginagawa namin pagdating sa mga training,” Alinsunurin said. “Hindi naman lahat credit talaga sa akin eh may mga coaching staff na tumutulong sa akin. As a coach, di naman ako laging naglilead diyan. Tinatanong ko yung mga coaches kung ano yung pwede, ano yung dapat gawin.”

After rising to the finals, the Flying Titans remain eager to continue their improvement next season as Alinsunurin admitted that they are looking to tap more players after losing Cheng and Isa Molde missing Game 2 due to an ankle injury.

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“Siguro sa series na to, nakita talaga namin yung pagkukulang namin, yung kailangan pa namin ng tao kasi bukod dun sa na injured si Des and si Isa, yun talaga eh, yun yung una naming pagiisipan kung sino yung pwede pa naming makuha para madagdag sa team para mas maging maganda yung takbo ng team,” the Choco Mucho coach said. “Sa ngayon, naghahanap pa, may mga idea na, nagtatry kausapin, pero hanggang doon pa lang ngayon.”

TAGS: Choco Mucho Flying Titans, Coach Dante Alinsunurin, PVL

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