PVL: Choco Mucho slips past Petro Gazz in tough five-setter

Sisi Rondina CHoco Mucho PVL

Sisi Rondina and the CHoco Mucho Flying Titans in the PVL All-Filipino COnference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Choco Mucho survived the first marathon match of the 2024 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference with a 24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 24-26, 15-13 victory late Tuesday night at PhilSports Arena.

The Flying Titans carved out their second consecutive win in two hours and 36 minutes behind the improving chemistry of their new setter Mars Alba and Sisi Rondina.

The former F2 Logistics stalwart distributed the ball with 25 excellent sets that Rondina feasted on after finishing with 24 points, all from attacks while also delivering 22 excellent receptions.

READ: SCHEDULE: PVL All-Filipino Conference 2024

“Until now, I am still thinking how [it took us that long] to finish the game because we had a lot of chances to end it,” coach Dante Alinsunurin said after an anticlimactic end to the encounter.

Choco Mucho established an early advantage in the deciding fifth set, turning up the heat on its net defense with Rondina scoring a crucial point through the block, 13-7.

Choco Mucho Flying Titans’ Kat Tolentino. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Petro Gazz went on a 6-1 run to a trim Choco Mucho lead 14-13 before Marian Buitre committed a deadly service error to seal the result.

“We are still thankful to get the win, although the last point didn’t come from us,” Alinsunurin said. “I hope that we learn from that situation [so it’ll be different] in the other games.”

READ: PVL: Mars Alba determined to contribute more for Choco Mucho

The silver medalists of last conference also spoiled Brooke van Sickle’s breakout game of 18 points, 22 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions.

”We’ll just take this as a positive challenge as a team, even though it showed early, at least we get to prepare for it in the next games,” Alba said as Choco Mucho battles undefeated Chery Tiggo next on March 2.

“I am getting the hang of my spikers but I still feel like I am lacking because I still need to catch up,” Alba added. “I am the only new player inside so I need to catch up on the system and their play.”

Kat Tolentino helped Choco Mucho with 17 points on 13 kills and four blocks and Isa Molde 12 points while team captain Maddie Madayag and Cherry Nunag contributed 11 points apiece.

Jonah Sabete was a silver lining for Petro Gazz, which committed 36 errors, after delivering 29 points including three blocks.

Djanel Cheng started for the Angels but did not return in the remaining sets. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas tried to lift her squad with 15 points.

Petro Gazz hopes to get back on its winning ways against Savannah Davison and PLDT on the same day.