Choco Mucho used balanced scoring to overpower an Akari side still working on its chemistry, carving out a 25-15, 25-20, 25-20 victory in the opener of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum yesterday.
The triple-tower combo of Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag produced 11 points each while Isa Molde fired away 10 hits for the Flying Titans, who responded quite well to new coach Dante Alinsunurin’s system. But it was Madayag who took the player of the game honors in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
“We’re focusing on our new system. We’re taking it one game at a time but we’re clicking. All teams are actually eyeing to make it to the Top 4 but we’re targeting the final three spots,” said Madayag.
The Flying Titans likewise flaunted its defense upfront, coming away with five blocks while pouncing on the Chargers’ erratic game, scoring 22 points off their rivals’ miscues while yielding 11 of their own.
“Sobrang saya sa naging panalo namin. This is my first win in the PVL, so ramdam na ramdam ko talaga ang pagka-panalo naming,” said Alinsunurin, many-time mentor of the national men’s team.
“Mas ginanahan ako kasi alam ko na maraming fans ang team. Nakikita ko yung ginagawa ng team, mas lalong nabu-boost kung anuman yung namin mangyari sa loob ng court,” he added.
Akari, which showed up with new faces in Dindin Manabat, Eli Soyud, Camille Victoria and Bang Pineda after finishing second-to-last in a nine-team field in its maiden league appearance in the Reinforced Conference last year, drew 17 points from Manabat while Janine Marciano came through with 12 points.
But the rest of the Chargers struggled both in offense and defense although Akari seized control in brief stretches of the last two sets before losing steam and succumbing to the Flying Titans’ strong finishing kick to the delight of the huge weekend crowd bracing for the Creamline-Petro Gazz duel later in the day.
Manabat, a seasoned campaigner who last played with the Chery Tiggo Crossovers, tried to anchor Akari’s charge in the opening frame to no avail as the Flying Titans unloaded 13 attack points, seven more than their rivals, to fashion out the easy win.