Choco Mucho sweeps Chery Tiggo, one win away from Finals

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2021 07:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2021 08:49 PM

Kat Tolentino and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans are one win away from the PVL Finals. PVL Media Bureau.
Kat Tolentino and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans are one win away from the PVL Finals. PVL Media Bureau.

MANILA (UPDATED) - Choco Mucho is one win away from the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference Finals after a straight sets victory over Chery Tiggo on Sunday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

The Flying Titans took the Crossovers out of their game with strong serving, en route to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 victory.

Choco Mucho had fewer attack points, 31-42, but scored 12 points off their serve and pounced on 24 unforced errors by the Crossovers.

Now up 1-0 in their best-of-3 semifinals series, the Flying Titans need just one more win in Monday's Game 2 in order to advance to the PVL Finals for the first time. 

"We just played right," said Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro. "Siguro 'yung kalaban, nagulat din." 

"We have to keep on doing what is right," he stressed.

After a straightforward victory in Set 1, the Flying Titans had to rally from a four-point deficit in the second frame, as Chery Tiggo built an 11-7 lead off a backrow hit by Dindin Santiago-Manabat. Errors by the Crossovers and crucial points from Ponggay Gaston helped Choco Mucho get back in the game.

Off a 22-all count, Regine Arocha fired an ace to put the Flying Titans in control, and Kat Tolentino registered back-to-back kills to give her team a two-set advantage.

Choco Mucho raced to a 7-0 start in the third set but needed to fend off a last ditch rally by the Crossovers, with a crosscourt hit by Mylene Paat making it a three-point game, 23-20. Gaston swiped an attack off Shaya Adorador to put Choco Mucho at match point, 24-20, but Adorador saved a match point in the next rally to briefly keep Chery Tiggo alive.

Maddie Madayag would not be denied, however, burying a quick hit in the next rally to wrap up the match in an hour and 25 minutes. 

Tolentino finished with 11 points, and Gaston and Bea de Leon each scored 10 points for the Flying Titans.

Santiago-Manabat fired a game-high 17 points for Chery Tiggo, while Jaja Santiago was limited to nine markers.