On a five-game roll, safe bets should go to Choco Mucho as it faces a team reeling from a three-game skid.
But for many, the Flying Titans will need more than momentum and confidence but heart as they take on the embattled but still dangerous Petro Gazz Angels in a swing encounter in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference elims back at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City on Thursday.
Choco Mucho has not dropped a set since bowing to defending champion Creamline last October 15, dispatching Farm Fresh, Cignal, Galeries, Nxled and Akari to seize solo third at 5-1 behind its unbeaten sister team (6-0) and Chery Tiggo (6-1).
And for a team which could not seem to win games in the first two conferences, the Flying Titans could not seem to lose at this stage of their campaign.
Another victory in their 6 p.m. encounter will further enhance Choco Mucho’s semifinal drive in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision with coach Dante Alinsunurin confident of sustaining their streak.
Choco Mucho’s top hitter Sisi Rondina has also underlined the significance of a unified mindset and shared goals within the organization, saying: “Kailangan namin talaga na pare-pareho kami ng mindset, pare-pareho kami ng goal kasi nakikita natin na maganda yung galaw so kahit naman hindi niyo kami tanungin, I think pag ganun na yung mindset lalabas at lalabas talaga yung magandang outcome.”
The former UST star also wants the team, which includes Kat Tolentino, Isa Molde, Maddie Madayag, Cherry Nunag and skipper Bea de Leon, to maintain the underdog tag as added motivation.
But expect the Angels to have corrected their flaws that led to their losses to the Chery Tiggo Crossovers, the Cool Smashers and the Cignal HD Spikers with coach Timmy Sto. Tomas hopeful to finally turn things around and put the team back into semis contention.
At 4-3, Petro Gazz is in joint sixth with F2 Logistics with the Angels hard-pressed to rebound fast in an attempt to revive their hopes for another shot at the championship after yielding the first conference crown, also the All-Filipino, to the Cool Smashers in sudden death last March.
Meanwhile, Cignal also seeks to ride on its three-game streak as it tangles with struggling F2 Logistics at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. clash between Nxled and Galeries.
The HD Spikers go all-out for a win and hold of solo fourth at 6-2 as the race to the semis heats up heading to the last two-and-a-half weeks of the elims among a record 12-team cast.
Nxled, boosted by its win over Akari the last time out for a 2-5 slate, also tries to keep its slim hopes alive against also-ran Galeries, winless after six games in the tournament organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa, BingoPlus, ArenaPlus, SMART, Rebisco, Milcu, Kumu, Asics and SportRadar,
Games can be streamed on Pilipinas Live and PVL.ph and are telecast on One Sports, One Sports+, and SMART Livestream app.