August 18, 2022
Kat Tolentino erupts for 27 points and 22 excellent digs in her much-needed return from a two-game absence as Choco Mucho survives PLDT in five sets

MANILA, Philippines – The Choco Mucho Flying Titans lived to see another day in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference after surviving the contending PLDT High Speed Hitters in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 10-25, 16-14, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Thursday, July 28.

Coming back after a two-game absence, Kat Tolentino provided much-needed all-around firepower with a game-high 27 points off 24 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace to go with 22 excellent digs, while Deanna Wong tallied 25 excellent sets.

Denden Lazaro-Revilla anchored the defense with 23 excellent receptions and 22 excellent digs as fifth-ranked Choco Mucho stayed in contention for a semifinal spot with a 2-3 record.

The Titans looked headed for their second five-set loss of the conference coming off a 2-0 set lead as PLDT waxed hot with a 6-2 burst in the final frame.

However, Ponggay Gaston spearheaded a 6-0 fightback to take an 8-6 lead that translated to a thrilling endgame where the High Speed Hitters maintained a 12-11 lead off a Mika Reyes kill.

Tolentino and Gaston then took turns blocking Jules Samonte for the crucial 13-12 lead. Although Chin Basas helped PLDT reset match point at 14-all, she also gifted the win to Choco Mucho after her last attack went too low following a Gaston match point-forcing hit at 15-14.

Samonte and Basas each scored 17 in the tough loss that sent PLDT to a 3-2 slate, while Dell Palomata added 16 points off 12 attacks and 4 blocks.

Choco Mucho now hopes that their sister team Creamline Cool Smashers take care of the fourth-ranked Army Black Mamba on Saturday, July 30, 11 am, while they try to win their last assignment against the also-ran Petro Gazz Angels that same day at 5:30 pm.

Meanwhile, PLDT will get another crack to enter the semis with a victory against playoff-bound sister team Cignal HD Spikers also on Saturday, 2:30 pm. – Rappler.com

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