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Choco Mucho eyes win No. 7

Kat Tolentino’s contributions will be crucial in Choco Mucho’s charge for a seventh straight win against F2 Logistics. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

Games today:

(Philsports Arena)

2 p.m. — Petro Gazz vs Farm Fresh

4 p.m. — Cignal vs Chery Tiggo

6 p.m. — Choco Mucho vs F2 Logistics

The Premier Volleyball League returns to the big city following its successful Cagayan de Oro stop with three exciting pairings that have important implications on the race for the All-Filipino Conference semifinals race today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Red-hot Choco Mucho faces a tough opponent in F2 Logistics in its hunt for a seventh straight win to move closer to securing a seat into the next round in the 6 p.m. main game.

Meanwhile, clashing at 4 p.m. are other semis favorites Chery Tiggo and Cignal while suddenly struggling Petro Gazz aims to snap out of its funk against also-ran Farm Fresh in the 2 p.m. curtain-raiser.

But attention will be on the Flying Titans-Cargo Movers encounter.

After falling victim to sister team and unbeaten defending champion Creamline to begin its campaign in the season-ending tournament, Choco Mucho went on a tear in the next six games including five matches in a row won in straight sets.

The Flying Titans beat the Angels, 18-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-16, last Thursday for a 6-1 win-loss record tied at second spot along with the Crossovers — just a game behind the Cool Smashers (7-0).

Choco Mucho head coach Dante Alinsunurin emphasizes the importance of his wards keeping their focus on barging into the semifinals they last reached back in the 2022 Open Conference.

“We really prepared well against F2 Logistics. We know how important our remaining games are. It will be harder for us from here on because we’re facing teams that are on top of the standings so we really have to prepare and plot our game plan well,” he said.

The Flying Titans still have PLDT, Gerflor and Chery Tiggo in their elimination round list.

The Cargo Movers, on the other hand, are searching for a way to arrest a two-game slide that pulled them down to a 4-4 slate at the sixth to eighth spot tied with Petro Gazz and Akari.

F2 Logistics absorbed a 23-25, 25-22, 24-26, 24-26, loss to Cignal last Thursday despite a career-high 30-point game unleashed by Jolina dela Cruz.

Now in a precarious position of missing the semis bus, the Cargo Movers are now on survival mode.

“We don’t know now if we’ll make it to the Final Four,” Dela Cruz said. “But we will show up and play our best as professionals. We have to show them who we really are.”

Dela Cruz will have to rally her veteran teammates Ara Galang, Aby Maraño, Myla Pablo, Ivy Lacsina as well as Ethan Arce and Jovelyn Fernandez to get their acts together against a strong Flying Titans squad led by Sisi Rondina, Isa Molde, Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and top setter Deanna Wong.

Chery Tiggo, on the other hand, is fresh from a long break after defeating PLDT, 14-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-19, while Cignal, which is half a game behind with a 6-2 card, is on a four-game win roll.

The HD Spikers will be banking on seasoned players Ces Molina, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Ria Meneses and Roselyn Doria as well as young star Vanie Gandler against the Crossovers’ power hitters Eya Laure, Mylene Paat, Pauline Gaston and EJ Laure.


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