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Choco Mucho halts Galeries, forces 3-way tie

Choco Mucho displayed its dominance against a Galeries Tower side that came into the match riding on a two-game run, fashioning out a 25-13, 25-19, 25-17 victory and forcing another three-way logjam at the top in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig Tuesday night.

Kat Tolentino took an extended rest but Sisi Rondina led the charge with another fiery performance, finishing with 16 points and adding eight excellent digs and three receptions.

But it was Cherry Nunag who grabbed the spotlight as she sizzled with 12 points, including two blocks and three aces, as the Flying Titans soared to their sixth win against a loss to rejoin the Creamline Cool Smashers and the PLDT High Speed Hitters at the helm.

“I think lahat nakapaghinga after a series of tough games,” said Nunag, referring to Choco Mucho’s challenging schedule in the first half of the preliminaries, including two matches that went the distance and produced varying results.

“The break was a big relief for the team, nakita namin kung ano ang mga dapat i-adjust sa susunod na mga laro,” added Nunag, who claimed the game’s top honors.

“Masaya ako sa naging performance naming. Sobrang thankful ako kasi lahat ng ipinasok ko (na player), nag-deliver,” said Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin, who also drew three markers from Maddie Madayag and one point each from Deanna Wong, Mars Alba and Thang Ponce.

After a virtual cruise in the opening set, the Flying Titans faced challenges in the next two but relied on their power, experience and teamwork to dominate the Highrisers.

Trailing 6-8 in the third, the Flying Titans uncorked a crippling 10-2 run, capitalizing on their opponents’ errors to seize control of the match. Despite the Highrisers’ effort to rally, they were unable to stop the Flying Titans, resulting in the 77-minute romp.

Galeries, which scored back-to-back wins over Capital1 and Strong Group, slipped to 2-5.

Grace Bombita, a key figure in the Highrisers’ previous victories, failed to see action as coach Lerma Giron decided to try different combinations while giving the other players the chance to shine.

But it did not yielded the desired results as the Flying Titans’ superior talent, skill and cohesion proved too much for the Highrisers to overcome.

Isa Molde fired nine points, Royse Tubino added seven points and Maika Ortiz chipped in five markers for the Flying Titans, who produced 42 attack points against the Highrisers’ 33.

Ortiz also combined with Nunag upfront as Choco Mucho posted eight blocks against Galeries Tower’s one. The Flying Titans likewise parlayed the Highrisers’ shaky service reception and scored seven aces while yielding three.

Galeries Tower actually matched Choco Mucho’s 14-attack effort in Set 2 but conceded eight points on errors.

Audrey Paran and Elize Ronquillo led Galeries Tower with nine and eight points, respectively, while Mary Anne Esguerra scored five points and Andrea Marzan and RJ Doromal added four points apiece.

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