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MANILA, Philippines – For the second straight PVL conference, Choco Mucho was right on the edge of Reinforced Conference playoff contention before falling apart at the very last moment.
Against Cignal on Tuesday, November 22, the Flying Titans suffered an early elimination after falling behind two sets, triggering the point system bonus for the HD Spikers to officially book the last semifinals ticket.
Not only did Choco Mucho once again get booted in the middle of a game, it also endured a double whammy as top stars Kat Tolentino and Des Cheng both went down with injuries in the pivotal third set.
After the eventual four-set loss, interim head coach Edjet Mabbayad bared that while Tolentino escaped a serious left knee injury, Cheng suffered a right pinky tendon tear and will need non-surgical rehab.
“She just needs to heal. For Kat, she just had a wrong move. It just hurt, but thankfully, it wasn’t severe,” he said in Filipino. “It didn’t twist bad enough to be any injuries we fear. She’s okay now.”
Tolentino, who has already suffered three ACL tears in her young career, actually brushed off her ailment and played on in the fourth set on the way to a 9-point finish.
After yet another disappointing campaign for one of the league’s most popular teams, Mabbayad is just hoping that her players heal up in the off-season with the aim of regrouping by next year.
Apart from Tolentino and Cheng, the Flying Titans also lost middle blocker Aduke Ogunsanya to an ACL tear last Invitational Conference, while their other anchor Maddie Madayag continues to get back to game shape after suffering her own ACL tear back in the 2021 Open Conference bubble.
“Of course, it’s heavy to lose. The atmosphere is really heavy inside the locker room. You can just see that they really wanted to win,” Mabbayad said.
“But what happened, happened, and that’s just how they feel about it.” – Rappler.com