PLDT escapes Choco Mucho in a thrilling five-set PVL duel

What a win for PLDT! (PVL)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The PLDT High-Speed Hitters regrouped in the most crucial stretch of the game to survive a tough challenge from the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 25-20, 25-12, 23-25, 11-25, 15-13, in the ongoing Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference on March 19, 2024, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

With the hard-earned epic victory, the High-Speed Hitters became the first team in the PVL to hand the Flying Titans its first defeat in the All-Filipino Conference.

PLDT was close to sweeping Choco Mucho after establishing a four-point lead in the third set. Up in the matchup with a 2-0 advantage, the High-Speed Hitters were firing from all cylinders but the Flying Titans finally woke up and put on a masterful defensive display that helped them claw their way back in the third.

From a 13-17 disadvantage, the Flying Titans quickly turned things around and managed to equalize the third set at 18-all.

PLDT was able to get back on track after a successful hit but successive block winners and set conversions steered the Flying Titans to a fourth set.

Just when the High-Speed Hitters thought they could easily go back to square one and replicate its second-set dominance, Choco Mucho had other plans and gave them a dose of their own medicine when they built a 14-point lead.

Everything was just clicking for the Flying Titans as the duo of Sisi Rondina and Kat Tolentino shouldered the scoring load. Matched with Thang Ponce’s excellent floor coverage, Choco Mucho forced a deciding fifth set for all the marbles.

Choco Mucho quickly got ahead in the rubber set but a counter rally from the High-Speed Hitters reversed the tables once again.

From a 2-3 deficit, PLDT stormed back in the fifth to nab a two-point lead, 6-4, courtesy of another Savannah Davison rampage on the offensive end.

The match lived up to its hype as both squads edged each other out in a nip-and-tuck affair in the remaining possessions of the fifth set but two straight points gave PLDT the much-needed victory.

Choco Mucho looked to spoil PLDT’s celebration after their coaching staff challenged for a block touch on Tolentino’s hit that was ruled out but after the replay center reviewed the sequence, the Flying Titans’ challenge was upheld.

Davison was stellar for the High-Speed Hitters after hammering Choco Mucho with 21 big points built from 23 successful attacks alongside 16 excellent receptions.

Veteran orchestrator Kim Fajardo also turned back the hands of time and ran the PLDT offense to perfection after dishing out 22 excellent sets and 12 excellent digs.

“Hindi namin inisip i-break ‘yung streak nila. Talagang important lang ‘yung game na ‘to para makapasok kami sa goal namin na top 4, kailangan talaga makakuha kami ng panalo sa mga top teams,” said PLDT head coach Rald Ricaforta after the win.

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