Kat Tolentino erupts for 27 points and 22 excellent digs in her much-needed return from a two-game absence as Choco Mucho survives PLDT in five sets.
The Choco Mucho Flying Titans lived to see another day in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference after surviving the contending PLDT High Speed Hitters in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 10-25, 16-14, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Thursday, July 28.
Coming back after a two-game absence, Kat Tolentino provided much-needed all-around firepower with a game-high 27 points off 24 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace to go with 22 excellent digs, while Deanna Wong tallied 25 excellent sets.
Denden Lazaro-Revilla anchored the defense with 23 excellent receptions and 22 excellent digs as fifth-ranked Choco Mucho stayed in contention for a semifinal spot with a 2-3 record.
The Titans looked headed for their second five-set loss of the conference coming off a 2-0 set lead as PLDT waxed hot with a 6-2 burst in the final frame.
However, Ponggay Gaston spearheaded a 6-0 fightback to take an 8-6 lead that translated to a thrilling endgame where the High Speed Hitters maintained a 12-11 lead off a Mika Reyes kill.
Tolentino and Gaston then took turns blocking Jules Samonte for the crucial 13-12 lead. Although Chin Basas helped PLDT reset match point at 14-all, she also gifted the win to Choco Mucho after her last attack went too low following a Gaston match point-forcing hit at 15-14.
Samonte and Basas each scored 17 in the tough loss that sent PLDT to a 3-2 slate, while Dell Palomata added 16 points off 12 attacks and 4 blocks.
Choco Mucho now hopes that their sister team Creamline Cool Smashers take care of the fourth-ranked Army Black Mamba on Saturday, July 30, 11 am, while they try to win their last assignment against the also-ran Petro Gazz Angels that same day at 5:30 pm.
Meanwhile, PLDT will get another crack to enter the semis with a victory against playoff-bound sister team Cignal HD Spikers also on Saturday, 2:30 pm.