PVL: Choco Mucho escapes PLDT in 5-set marathon to keep semis bid alive

MANILA – The Choco Mucho Flying Titans avoided elimination as they survived a comeback threat from PLDT High Speed Hitters in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference. 

The Flying Titans squandered a 2-0 set lead but regained their rhythm in the deciding set to eke out a 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 10-25, 16-14, hard-earned win on Thursday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.

The huge victory improved Choco Mucho’s record to 2-3, while the PLDT dropped to a 3-2 win-loss card. 

PLDT zoomed to a 3-0 start in the fifth set, forcing coach Oliver Almadro to call a timeout. A series of errors from the High Speed Hitters allowed Choco Mucho to return to the match. 

Ponggay Gaston then delivered when it mattered most as she registered crucial spikes for an 8-6 lead for the Flying Titans. 

Tied at 12, Bea de Leon rejected Samonte to put Choco Mucho ahead by a single point. But Gaston’s hit went wide in the ensuing play before Tolentino hammered a down-the-line spiker to make it 14-13. 

An attack error from Chin Basas ended the match at 16-14.

Kat Tolentino paced the winning team with 27 points including 24 attacks. 

PLDT carried the momentum they got from its third-set win as it built an early 8-3 separation in the fourth frame, capped by a block of Dell Palomata.

After a threat from Choco Mucho, the High Speed Hitters extended the gap once again after an attack from Jules Samonte and an ace of Palomata, 14-8. Samonte made it a 10-point ballgame after a topspin hit, 19-9. 

After a good start from Choco Mucho in the third, PLDT quickly recovered and regained the upperhand after an ace from Chin Basas, 7-6. The Power Hitters stretched the lead to 12-9 as Rhea Dimaculangan uncorked a dump ball. 

Deanna Wong put the Flying Titans closer in the latter stretch of the set as she tallied a service ace, 18-19. An error from the service area of Dimaculangan tied the game at 20. 

Choco Mucho tasted the lead when Jules Samonte’s hit went wide, 21-20. But Mika Reyes scored an ace to put PLDT at set point. Basas then did not waste their opportunity as she unloaded a sharp crosscourt spike to extend the game. 

In the second set, Choco Mucho broke away from a 12-11 score, reaching the second technical timeout ahead, 16-12, off a backrow hit from Tolentino. 

The lead ballooned to eight points as Basas committed an error before Isa Molde went for a successful dink, 21-13. 

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