MANILA, Philippines — Kat Tolentino and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans are going to treat their semifinals series with sibling team Creamline Cool Smashers just like any of their previous matches in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
The Flying Titans and Cool Smashers clash in a best-of-three semis series for the first time starting on Friday at San Juan Arena.
However, history is not on Choco Mucho’s side as it has yet to beat Creamline since its first PVL season in 2019.
But the Flying Titans have formed their strongest team yet this season with the signings of Des Cheng, Isa Molde, Aduke Ogunsanya, Cherry Nunag, Jem Ferrer and libero Thang Ponce.
Tolentino, who has been Choco Mucho’s stabilizer since it joined the PVL, said it’s exciting to face their sister team with the Finals berth on the line. But she stressed that they have to treat it as a normal game.
“We’re gonna prepare and treat them like any other team. It’s exciting to be able to go against a sister team,” said Tolentino after they beat PLDT in the quarterfinals, 25-21, 23-25, 29-31. 25-15, 15-11, on Tuesday.
“They won championships in the past so we really have to step up,” she added.
Coach Oliver Almadro said facing the Alyssa Valdez-led Creamline, which remained unbeaten in four games, will be a test of character for his wards.
“We’re happy that we’re gonna go up against a great team, a champion team. Great team will just push us forward. That’s our mindset Creamline will push us forward,” he said. “Sister teams but it’s a matter of whose character is effective. Whose mindset is ready and who has that mental toughness in the semifinals.”
With an exciting sibling rivalry in the PVL semis, expect a jam-packed San Juan Arena with the two crowd darlings of the league clashing for a Finals berth.
Tolentino and his coach are both happy to see the fans back for the first time in this pandemic.
“They’re just so supportive. We saw how early they lined up for the tickets. We’re just so thankful for them that they sacrificed their time and their money also just to watch us. This shows that volleyball spirit never lost. it’s stronger now that we’re finally able to have them here,” she said.
Almadro agreed: “We’re happy. It’s our first time to see the crowd again. We’re happy that a lot of people are praying for us, hoping we will win and there’s a lot of people that we inspire through volleyball.”
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