PVL: Cignal overturns 2-set deficit to stun Choco Mucho

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Cignal HD’s Ces Molina (R) tackles the Choco Mucho Flying Titans defense during their 2022 PVL Invitational Conference game. PVL media.

MANILA, Philippines — Cignal HD showed great aplomb in the streak to knock back Choco Mucho in five sets and remain undefeated in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.

The HD Spikers fell behind by two sets but came alive midway through the match and held off the Flying Titans for a 24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-11 triumph. They are now 2-0 in the tournament.

Ces Molina earned player of the game honors after an all-around effort that saw her score 17 points on 15 kills, while contributing to 26 excellent receptions. The HD Spikers were balanced on offense, with four other players reaching double digits, including Glaudine Troncoso who had 13 points.

Setter Gel Cayuna had seven points – four against blocks – in addition to her 32 excellent sets.

“It’s not the best,” said Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos, who was coaching his first game after missing his first conference game against Army.

“Kahit na talagang napapagod na, lumaban pa rin hanggang dulo. Kaya nakaka-proud and very grateful,” he added.

The Flying Titans took a two-set lead after overcoming a five-point deficit in set 1, as Troncoso put Cignal at set point, 24-19. But hits from Cherry Nunag, Kat Tolentino and Isa Molde allowed Choco Mucho to recover and take the win. With the momentum of their opening set triumph, the Flying Titans sailed into the second frame.

But Cignal HD turned things around in the third set and then avoided another meltdown in the fourth with Molina and Ria Meneses conspiring on the stretch to hold off Choco Mucho.

Cignal HD scored the first three points of the fifth, but a few errors from HD Spikers helped give the Flying Titans momentum. A huge block from Desiree Cheng on Molina put Choco Mucho ahead 6-5, prompting Delos Santos to press on for time.

The HD Spikers responded with four straight runs, highlighted by a block from setter Gel Cayuna on Cheng, who put them ahead for good, 9-6. The Flying Titans came within one, 11-10, on Rachel Anne Daquis’ Tolentino block, but Cignal HD took four of the last five rallies to complete the comeback.

“Sabi ko, ‘di pa naman tapos,” Delos Santos said of his message to the team after falling behind by two sets. “Yung third set namin, sabi ko ‘yun muna, focus muna kami his third set. So every point na gagawin namin, i-focus namin ang sarili namin and kailangan ma-execute ng maayos.”

Tolentino exploded for 31 runs on 25 hits, four blocks and two aces, while Molde and Cheng each finished with 14 runs. But the Flying Titans couldn’t max out their middle blockers and also committed 36 unforced errors which helped Cignal HD’s cause.

Choco Mucho fell to 1-1 in the conference.

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