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Hungry for Title: Choco Mucho’s Loss in Finals Ignites Fire for Victory

Choco Mucho may have fallen short against Creamline in their Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Finals clash, but their heart and performance all conference long showed that they have what it takes to be hailed as champions in the near future.

Much has been said about how the arrival of Sisi Rondina, who was eventually named conference Most Valuable Player (MVP), and head coach Dante Alinsunurin changed the path the Flying Titans had been taking: Before this tournament, the Choco Mucho had managed just two fourth-place finishes and five seventh-place stints.

Alinsunurin, however, refused to hog the credit.

“I am thankful with how we have been performing but it’s not all credit to me, I have a coaching staff who has been helping me,” Alinsunurin said in Filipino. “As a coach, I am not always the one leading [Flying Titans]. I ask the other coaches what we can and need to do.”

Rondina has credited the franchise’s first silver medal to Alinsunurin’s program, calling her coach as the MVP, a sentiment shared by Maddie Madayag, who put out some sort of notice that Choco Mucho is due for a first championship.

“[Our runner-up finish is] a statement to all the teams that we will not go down easily and, I guess, maybe we’re already one of the teams to beat [going] into the next conference,” Madayag, one of the core members of Choco Mucho, said. “But it doesn’t stop there, we will continue what we are doing.”

‘Emotional’

Save for its opening loss to Creamline, Choco Mucho swept all its elimination assignments with its 10-game winning run being halted by Cignal in Game 1 of their semifinal pairing.

Then came the Cool Smashers’ sweep of the title-clinching series despite Rondina’s 33-point outing in Game 2, Madayag’s 16 points with 13 by way of attacks and the 15 points of Kat Tolentino, another key cog who laced her output with six blocks.

“I am so happy with our performance … in terms of skill. We executed our game plan. But Creamline was just so tough as an opponent,” Alinsunurin said in Filipino. “But I am still so happy with this achievement because we came from seventh place (in the last four conferences), and now we’re at the top.”

“[The Flying Titans] really wanted the championship … just reaching second place took so long, that’s why they were so emotional. But as I’ve said, there will still be other conferences,” Alinsunurin added. “I told them ‘you know what our lapses were this year, what’s important is that we learn from what we did in the championship.’”

And if Choco Mucho continues its rise, the Flying Titans might soon satisfy that hunger for a title. INQ