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Team Effort Leads Choco Mucho’s Kat Tolentino to Big Game

MANILA, Philippines — Kat Tolentino rose to the occasion to help Choco Mucho save its campaign as the Flying Titans forced a rubber match against Cignal in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference semifinals.

With Sisi Rondina leading the way with 23 points, Tolentino provided solid support with 15 points in a 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 win in Game 2 on Saturday at Philsports Arena.

Bouncing back from a 25-18 25-23, 14-25, 19-25, 10-15 collapse in Game 1 where Cignal snapped its 10-game winning streak, the hard-hitting opposite spiker said their teamwork allowed them to keep their final hopes alive.

“I think it was a team effort. We couldn’t have done it without everyone saying positive (things). My teammates’ always encouraging me and I think that’s the biggest takeaway from me,” said Tolentino. “I never felt like I was alone. If I made an error there were always five other girls there supporting me. It’s really a team effort because at the end of the day, they are the ones that lift you up, they are the ones who you’re playing with, and I think it also came down to heart.”

The Flying Titans, who returned to the semis after missing the last four conferences, are hoping to finally make their first Finals since joining the league four years ago.

Tolentino, one of the team’s original members, is raring to reach the biggest stage in the PVL.

“It will definitely be one of the highlights of my career. It’s a big accomplishment, especially in the pros and I’ve been with this team since the beginning so it will definitely be such a memorable accomplishment if it happens,” said the former Ateneo star, who won a UAAP Season 81 championship in 2019.

The former PVL Best Opposite Spiker stressed that they need to remain hungry heading to Game 3 on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for them to finally earn a shot at the All-Filipino championship.

“I think for me we have to humble ourselves again, we have to start from the beginning. We’ll celebrate but we have to prepare again for Tuesday because, of course, Cignal will come back with even more fire,” she said. “I think the team that is complacent will always be at a disadvantage and I think that’s what happened last game. We have to keep that fire alive and just continue to be humble with our skills and go back to coach Dante’s system.”



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