MANILA, Philippines — Choco Mucho opened its VTV Cup International women’s volleyball tournament campaign with a 25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22 win over Japan’s Kansai University in Lao Cai, Vietnam.
The Flying Titans convincingly took the first two sets but lost steam in the third frame with a six-point loss that allowed the Japanese to extend the match. The Philippine club was quick to get its act together in the fourth as Caitlin Viray put them on the verge of victory with a 23-20 lead but Kansai trimmed it down to just one after scoring two consecutive points.
Viray brought Choco Mucho to match point with another clutch attack, 24-22, before Maddie Madayag nailed the game-winning block.
Sisi Rondina and Des Cheng led the charge for the Flying Titans with setter Deanna Wong orchestrating the plays. Madayag and Cherry Nunag took care of the frontline, while libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla protected their floor.
Kat Tolentino, who came off the bench, was also instrumental as she put on the finishing touches in the second set when she entered late and scored three consecutive points.
“We’re very happy with the win. [It was a] team effort and we still have a lot to learn going against the other teams. We’re excited,” said Tolentino after the game.
“I think patience [was the key]. Japan team is a very good team. They’re gonna score but we have to be patient and focus on our side first before getting frustrated even if they were leading we [have to believe that we] can still catch up.“
“Very friendly crowd, very supportive and welcoming since we got here,” she added.
The Premier Volleyball League club will be tested against Vietnam’s Team 1, led by national stars Tran Thi Thanh Thuy and Doan Thi Lam Oanh, on Sunday.
The Dante Alinsunurin-coach squad is looking forward to the learnings they can gain from international squads as they seek to rise from seventh place in the Invitational Conference last July.
The top two teams of the single-round elimination will clash in the championship game, the third and fourth-ranked squads dispute the bronze, while the bottom two will play in a classification match.
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