Veteran winger Sisi Rondina rose to the occasion in powering Choco Mucho past Cignal, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, in Game 2 to tie the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference semifinals series to 1-1 Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The high-flying scorer backed by opposite hitter Kat Tolentino drilled the crucial hits in the closing 8-4 run in the tightly contested third set to avoid another meltdown and drag the series to a decider.
Game 3 is on Tuesday at the same venue.
Rondina rolled with a game-high 23 points anchored from 20 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace while adding eight excellent receptions for the Flying Titans, who rebounded from a five-set defeat in Game 1 despite winning the first two frames.
“We came here with the mindset of rebounding from our Game 1 loss. Our players delivered today. Credit to the players they worked hard from the first until the last points of the game,” Choco Mucho head coach Dante Alinsunurin said.
“We had some struggles inside the court but we were able to adjust right away and thankful we got Game 2.”
The Flying Titans went behind, 17-18 before Tolentino punched in a kill for the tie followed by three straight points by Rondina and a runner by Cherry Nunag for a 22-18 lead.
Choco Mucho reached matchpoint, 24-19, after Tolentino’s back-to-back hits. Jovelyn Gonzaga and Gel Cayuna saved two match points to give the Flying Titans a scare but Gonzaga surrendered the game after overcooking her serve to end the one-hour, 41-minute match.
Tolentino finished with 15 points, Isa Molde had eight markers, 10 digs and eight excellent receptions while Maddie Madayag also had eight points for Choco Mucho’s first semis win since taking Game 1 of the 2021 Open Conference semis against eventual champion Chery Tiggo.
Choco Mucho went on a flying start in the second set but struggled midway through the frame before mounting a 5-1 fightback to turn a two-point deficit into a 23-21 lead.
Ces Molina tried to will Cignal back with a hit but Rondina quickly answered with a crosscourt kill before Roselyn Doria committed an attack error on an off-timed quick that gave the Flying Titans a 2-0 match lead.
Gonzaga had 13 points, Ria Meneses and Molina had 11 markers each for the HD Spikers.