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Tolentino tows Choco Mucho past PLDT, into PVL semis

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Tolentino tows Choco Mucho past PLDT, into PVL semis
Kat Tolentino pounded her way to a match-best 19 hits — all coming from kills — including three in the final set that sealed the Flying Titans the win and a best-of-three semis showdown with the Creamline Cool Smashers.
PVL Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Choco Mucho relied on Kat Tolentino in the deciding fifth set as it survived PLDT’s upset bid, 25-21, 23-25, 29-31, 25-15, 15-11, on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.

Tolentino pounded her way to a match-best 19 hits — all coming from kills — including three in the final set that sealed the Flying Titans the win and a best-of-three semis showdown with the Creamline Cool Smashers, their sister team, starting Friday.

“It was a tough one but I’m really grateful for this team, it was really a team effort,” said Tolentino.

But Choco Mucho, which came here with the twice-to-beat edge after finishing second in Pool A with a 3-1 record, had to thread through the proverbial eye of the needle after blowing leads and dropping the extended third set and falling to a 1-2 set deficit.

However, the Flying Titans, out to improve on its fourth-place effort in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte last season, kept their composure and calmly dominated the fourth set to level the count and force the last set.

There, Tolentino, with help from rookie Aduke Ogunsanya, took charge and delivered the critical hits to fend off the Power Hitters’ bid to take the set and the match and force one last game for that coveted semis spot.

Isa Molde scattered 18 points including 14 spikes and three blocks in helping send PLDT, her former team, down on its knees and out of the title race.

Toni Rose Basas paced PLDT with 16 points, mostly coming in the final set when she tried and failed to will her team back.

Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro lauded his players for keeping their cool under tremendous pressure.

“When we fell behind, 1-2, I told my players that it will boil down to mental toughness and their faith in the system and in their teammates,” said Almadro. “That’s why in the fourth set, they played better and luckily the Lord gave us the strength to win this game.”

CHOCO MUCHO

KAT TOLENTINO

PLDT

PVL

VOLLEYBALL

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