MANILA (UPDATED) - Choco Mucho spoiled the Perlas Spikers' debut in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference, as the Flying Titans came away with a straight sets win on Sunday afternoon at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Pouncing on untimely errors by the Perlas Spikers, Choco Mucho racked up a 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 triumph to improve to 3-0 in the competition.
The Flying Titans are second in the standings, behind defending champion Creamline (4-0).
It was a balanced effort for Choco Mucho, with Kat Tolentino and Ponggay Gaston each scoring nine points, while Maddie Madayag had eight and Bea de Leon added six markers. They registered 11 kill blocks, four from Tolentino. The Flying Titans also got 31 free points off Perlas' errors.
"Hindi puwedeng tumigil. Kailangan, tuloy-tuloy (dahil) lahat ng teams din gumagaling," said Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro after the game. "Lahat ng teams nagkakaroon ng cohesiveness, so we really have to maximize 'yung familiarity namin."
It was a tough start to the conference for Perlas, which was making a delayed debut after a positive COVID-19 test among its non-playing staff forced the league to put all of the team's games on hold. They were only cleared to play last Thursday.
Perlas started off strong, taking an early lead in the first set but the Flying Titans got going after the second technical timeout. Back-to-back rejections by de Leon and Tolentino helped Choco Mucho secure a 20-18 advantage.
Perlas kept in step, trailing 23-21 off a Heather Guino-o kill. But Guino-o sent her serve wide to start the next rally, putting the Flying Titans at set point. Back-to-back hits by Nicole Tiamzon kept the Spikers alive, only for Deanna Wong to score on a one-two play that secured the first set for Choco Mucho.
In the second set, the Flying Titans built a 16-10 lead off a big hit by Tolentino, and were still ahead 23-18 after a service error by Michelle Morente. A hit from the middle by Czarina Carandang and a service ace by Roma Doromal made it a three-point game, 23-20, but Doromal sent her next serve to the net to gift Choco Mucho with the set point, 24-20. A block by Tolentino on Guino-o wrapped up the set for the Flying Titans.
An unforced error again doomed Perlas in the third set. They were down by just three points, 23-20, off a Cherry Nunag hit but she put her serve wide to make it 24-20 for Choco Mucho. A hitting error by Tiamzon completed the match in the Flying Titans' favor.
Nunag led Perlas in scoring with 11 points, while Sue Roces and Guino-o had eight points each.
It will be a quick turnaround for Perlas, as they play again on Monday afternoon against Chery Tiggo.