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PLDT, Choco Mucho gun for strong start

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL CHOCO Mucho seeks to start its campaign on a high note when it battles Nxled in the PVL All-Filipino Conference.

Games today:
(Filoil EcoOil Arena)
3 p.m. — PLDT vs Galeries Tower
5 p.m. — Choco Mucho vs Nxled

It’s PLDT and Choco Mucho’s turn to showcase their prowess when they face Galeries Tower and Nxled, respectively, in the second eliminations playdate of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference today at the Filoil EcoOil Arena in San Juan City.

Despite the absence of their injured top middle Mika Reyes for the entire season, the High Speed Hitters are determined to maintain their formidable presence, especially with the addition of Majoy Baron to the team’s rotation, which includes Dell Palomata, Jessey de Leon and Rachel Austero.

“Her (Reyes) absence is timely as Majoy is here to replace her. Then we have Jessey and Rachel,” PLDT head coach Rald Ricafort, whose wards finished fifth in the second AFC last year, said.

But after ending up second-to-last in the 12-team field the last time out, there is no way to go for the Highrisers but up with former National Collegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player Shola Alvarez and Roma Joy Doromal spearheading the team’s charge in their 3 p.m. encounter with the High Speed Hitters.

On the other hand, last conference’s finalist, Choco Mucho, is all geared up for its clash with Nxled at 5 p.m.

Reigning MVP and prolific Sisi Rondina, while cautious about the competition, emphasized the team’s commitment to hard work and coach Dante Alinsunurin’s guidance, saying: “We’re not expecting anything because other teams are also good.”

She also acknowledged the unpredictable nature of the conference.

“As I’ve said, the ball is round. We will never know what will happen in the conference but the only sure thing is that we will work hard to win and execute everything that Coach Dante had taught us,” said Rondina, who will be backstopped by twin towers Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino.

Still, PLDT and Choco Mucho are expected to overcome their initial challenges, following the impressive performances of Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo in the opening day of the conference organized by Sports Vision.

The talent-laden Angels secured a decisive victory over the Strong Group Athletics, 25-12, 25-20, 25-12, while the Crossovers clobbered the Capital1 Solar Spikers, 25-6, 25-15, 25-15, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City Tuesday.

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