By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Choco Mucho overcame Chery Tiggo’s late surge and hacked out a 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 victory Sunday night to inch closer to a finals berth in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the PVC Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
The Flying Titans held their ground after the Crossovers racked up three straight points to trim their 21-16 lead to 21-19 with Deanna Wong setting up smart plays for Choco Mucho’s attackers.
Ponggay Gaston and Maddie Madayag produced the winning kills for Choco Mucho in their best-of-three semifinal affair.
While the third-seeded Choco Mucho needed just three sets to prevail, it took No. 1 seed Creamline five exciting frames to beat No. 4 Petro Gazz, 27-29, 25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 16-14, in their own semis series.
A down-the-line spike from Tots Carlos and a quick kill from Jema Galanza delivered the winning blows for the Cool Smashers, who moved a win away from earning a spot in the best-of-three finals.
Carlos, who finished with 23 points, said they were able to neutralize Petro Gazz with solid floor coverage.
“Mindset talaga,” Wong said post-game. “Dati, it was just our goal to be in the semis and now, we’re here. Pero the job’s not done yet. Madami pa dapat na trabuhin.”
Wong, who finished with 16 excellent sets on top of four points, hopes to seal the semis matchup win Monday.
Three players scored in twin figures for Choco Mucho with Kat Tolentino posting 11 points, and Bea De Leon and Gaston adding 10 points each.
The Flying Titans also banked on their service game by unleashing 12 aces – three each from Regine Arocha and De Leon.