By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Choco Mucho Flying Titans showed poise under pressure and completed a comeback for the ages against South Korea’s Suwon City volleyball club, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-11, in the ongoing VTV Cup held at the Lao Cai Gymnasium in Vietnam last August 23, 2023.
Trailing two sets to none in the crucial preliminary eliminator, the Flying Titans used a terrific three-set ender to shock the representatives from South Korea.
Choco Mucho pulled off a terrific in-game adjustment at the start of the third set after deploying a taller frontline to further boost their middle blocking.
With the solid triple-tower insertion of Cherry Nunag, Maddie Madayag, and Kat Tolentino, the Flying Titans slowly got back into the match and chipped away Suwon’s lead.
Choco Mucho superstar outside hitter Sisi Rondina then picked up her offensive rhythm in the most crucial stretch of the game and led the Flying Titans’ assault.
Rondina’s attacks and Tolentino’s clutch scoring answers propelled the Flying Titans to a third-set victory and followed it up with another solid outing in the fourth.
Choco Mucho extended its fourth-set advantage to as much as eight points, 23-15, and closed it out to force a deciding fifth frame.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the fifth as Suwon struck first after scoring back-to-back hits off a well-designed cross-court play.
Rondina was quick to provide the answer and helped Choco Mucho stay within striking distance against the offensive-minded Suwon squad.
With the score knotted at 9-all, a Suwon error helped the Flying Titans take a 10-9 lead. After the sequence Rondina racked two straight points to extend Choco Mucho’s lead to three, 12-9.
Suwon was able to score after an off-the-block spike but Rondina sealed the win for the Flying Titans with a clean block on the defensive side.