MANILA, Philippines – The F2 Cargo Movers inched closer to their own spot at the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals after a heated four-set win over the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 25-23, 25-19, 13-25, 25-22, at the jampacked PhilSports Arena on Tuesday, March 7.
Kianna Dy stayed white-hot on offense at the late stages of the elimination round with 23 points off 19 attacks, 2 blocks, and 2 aces as F2 rose to a 5-2 record. Choco Mucho, meanwhile, dropped to a 2-4 slate and in danger of elimination with one more loss.
Kim Fajardo tallied 22 excellent sets in the win, while two-time league MVP Myla Pablo added 15 points before going down with minor cramps in the fourth set.
Despite Pablo’s setback adding onto F2’s late woes after a blowout third-set loss, the Cargo Movers hung tough amid the roars of 7,750 frenzied fans and edged ahead, 18-17, off back-to-back Aby Marano points.
Dy then finished what her longtime teammate started as she scored 3 of F2’s last 4 points to seal the deal, once again putting the Flying Titans in a mathematical conundrum regarding their points and set ratio.
To stay alive, Choco Mucho now needs to sweep their last two games, while PLDT needs to drop their final two assignments in sweeping fashion at the same time. Coincidentally, the Flying Titans and High Speed Hitters meet in their last elimination round game day.
“I’m happy even though my players always give me cardiac games every game,” F2 head coach Regine Diego joked in Filipino.
Turning serious, she added: “As long as we win, we’re happy with that, but we shouldn’t stop, be complacent, or relax, since this is not yet over. As I said to them, we only stop when we’re done, not when we’re tired.”
Bea de Leon fired a season-high 17 points off 14 attacks and 3 blocks in the losing effort, while usual top scorer Kat Tolentino added 16 points.
Also caught in F2’s rise as collateral damages are the Akari Chargers and the Cignal HD Spikers, who have both been officially eliminated owing to an inferior point quotient despite still holding the same 2-4 record as Choco Mucho.
The Cargo Movers aim to stay on guard as they can clinch their first-ever PVL playoff spot on Saturday, March 11, 4 pm, against the winless Army-Black Mamba Lady Troopers.
Meanwhile, Choco Mucho begins its steep trek back up the standings after just a one-day break on Thursday, March 9, 6:30 pm, against the reeling but still contending Chery Tiggo Crossovers. – Rappler.com
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