MANILA, Philippines -- They may have failed to make the podium of the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference, but the season was still one to remember for Choco Mucho.
The Flying Titans finished as the third seed but lost to Chery Tiggo in the best-of-3 semifinals, putting them in a battle for the bronze medal against Petro Gazz. There, they lost in back-to-back games, suffering a blow in Game 1 when Maddie Madayag went down with a knee injury in the fourth set.
The team still displayed its "Titan Pride" in the do-or-die Game 2 where coach Oliver Almadro gave most of the playing time to his second stringers, and they pushed the Angels in every set before succumbing.
"To say that we're proud of you is an understatement," said Rebisco Volleyball official Alan Acero after the match. "Our season was still a resounding success."
Much was expected of Choco Mucho in the PVL conference after a busy offseason that saw them add veteran libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla and setter Deanna Wong to a lineup that already featured Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Bea de Leon.
They opened the conference with six straight wins before suffering their first loss at the hands of sister team Creamline, but still advanced to the Final 4.
A packed schedule that saw them play eight games in nine days hampered Choco Mucho's campaign, but their management believes this is only the beginning for the team.
"We built on what we started in 2019 and made the Final 4 for the first time despite all odds," said Acero. "We will get back and we will be better."
"We fell short, but our mission as an organization doesn't stop," he added. "We've gathered a team of young, talented women and established a culture… No shortcuts."
"We will continue to build a sustainable, winning team."
This was Choco Mucho's best finish in its brief franchise history.
The Flying Titans finished in seventh place in the 2019 PVL Open Conference, when it made its debut in the league.