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Lucky 13: Choco Mucho pioneer Madayag relieved to finally solve Creamline puzzle

JR Isaga

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Lucky 13: Choco Mucho pioneer Madayag relieved to finally solve Creamline puzzle

RELIEVED. Choco Mucho's Maddie Madayag reacts in the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference

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Choco Mucho captain Maddie Madayag, who has been with the Flying Titans since its 2019 creation, breathes a sigh of relief after finally beating sister team Creamline after 12 straight losses

MANILA, Philippines – If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, and again, and again.

That was the simple mindset of the Choco Mucho Flying Titans heading to the 2024 PVL All-Filipino semifinals, as they finally slayed their sister team Creamline Cool Smashers in a captivating reverse sweep, 13-29, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 18-16, on Tuesday, April 30.

This thrilling conquest at the packed PhilSports Arena marked the first time in Choco Mucho’s entire franchise existence that it conquered mighty Creamline, snapping a 12-game losing streak spanning five years.

Amid the 6,407 fans who packed the Pasig City venue, no one was happier for the Flying Titans’ breakthrough win than captain Maddie Madayag, who has been with the team since day one and had seen all its ups and downs through the years.

“Finally,” she said after the game with a big sigh of relief. “That’s all I can say. We’ve prepared for them for so many conferences, but we always fell short. Finally. We’ve gone through so much.”

“As Coach Dante [Alinsunurin] said, it all just comes back to teamwork, and we’re very grateful for the Lord. We just kept on thanking the Lord because no one got injured even though many of us were already cramping. He didn’t forget us and we all fought through.”

Of course, the absence of three-time MVP Tots Carlos due to the Korean V-League tryouts was an undeniable factor in Creamline’s loss, but Choco Mucho was also missing a number of its top soldiers, most notably star opposite Kat Tolentino, who is still out with an ear-related issue.

In their stead, Michele Gumabao (18 points) and Royse Tubino (20 points) performed admirably for both sides, with the latter hammering down late hits to help push her new team to a 1-0 start in the round robin semifinals.

Madayag, who had a staggering 7 blocks and 1 attack for an 8-point total, noted their team’s additions and experience over Creamline as determining factors in finally solving the defending champions’ puzzle.

“All finals games against [Creamline] definitely helped, as we’re able to read them a bit more, and of course, our additions were big. Veterans and setters. Mars [Alba] was great. She made it look like she was passing to me, but really she was going for Royse,” Madayag continued.

“Credit really goes to my teammates because they didn’t give up, especially our veteran her. Sergeant Royse is so great.”

Now carrying an all-important win with two games left, Choco Mucho’s finals return bid next takes a turn to the red-hot Chery Tiggo Crossovers on Thursday, May 2, 6 pm, still at the PhilSports Arena. –

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