It seemed like the Choco Mucho Flying Titans had a lot to learn after their first round meltdown against their earlier rivals.
With victories important more than ever given the tough race to the semifinals, head coach Oliver Almadro knew what his squad needed to do against the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers—a team they led two sets to none in the first round, until their collapse in the next three sets to drop the game.
“Natutunan namin to end it right—no matter what, kailangan naming magtiyaga. Hindi kami pwedeng mawalan ng trust sa isa’t isa e—kagaya kanina, the players come and go pero kailangan mo silang bigyan ng right motivation and direction,” Almadro said.
The Flying Titans staged a three-game winning streak after surviving the Lady Troopers in five sets, 25-20, 17-25, 21-25, 25-11, 15-8, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.
Facing a 2-1 disadvantage this time around, Choco Mucho showed character as they minimized their lapses and displayed stronger performances in the fourth and fifth sets, pouncing on Army’s numerous errors to take the game.
Kat Tolentino led the Flying Titans anew with 24 points, while Maddie Madayag added 14.
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While only two players finished in double digits for Choco Mucho, two-fifths of their final score came from Army’s 42 errors.
Almadro commended his players for keeping up with a newly-formed system and acknowledging their individual shortcomings, knowing they have to double up on their game more than ever with the tight competition for Final Four tickets.
“It’s really hard to cope up with a system in one to two months. We’ve been practicing it hard—luckily, nakakasunod na. What I admire about my players is that they really work hard and try to make it up sa mga kakulangan nila,” the head coach said.
The Flying Titans dominated in the fourth set of the game with Tolentino leading their early 8-2 advantage, even extending their lead from ten to fourteen points at the latter part to force a decider.
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Ultimately, it was Choco Mucho who got the better odds with Pacifictown Army giving away seven errors in the fifth set to make things easier for their opponents.
Almadro noted his team’s character in extended games, adding he doesn’t want to see anymore meltdowns in these situations knowing their ugly first round record in five-setter games.
“Nung first round, lahat ng five sets namin, kami ‘yung dehado and at the wrong end e. Sa mga games na ganito, ang kailangan namin is to mature right away.” Almadro said.
With the win, Choco Mucho advances in the team standings with a 5-6 record, while the Lady Troopers settle for a 6-5 slate.
The Flying Titans look to improve their semifinal odds as they face Motolite on Wednesday.