MANILA, Philippines — The end of the match between Choco Mucho and Creamline in Game 3 of the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals was filled with a lot of tension.
Although the Flying Titans emerged victorious after four grueling sets, the journey to get there was not encouraging.
Just ask Sisi Rondina, who had a whirlwind of emotions in the final moments of the game.
Choco Mucho had a ticket to the Finals within reach, 24-23, in the fourth quarter before Vanie Gandler unloaded on a line drive that went wide.
Before the Flying Titans could celebrate, however, HD Spikers coach Shaq Delos Santos raised a block/touch challenge and said a point should be given to Cignal to extend the set.
“I was nervous because I thought the ball had gone in. From my point of view, her (Gandler) shot went inwards. But I asked 'is it a check ball?' and they said no”, explained Rondina, who finished with 21 points.
With the celebrations cut short, the Flying Titans waited with bated breath as they watched the big screen inside the Philsports Arena for review.
UNSUCCESSFUL CHALLENGE… AND IT'S SO GOOD FOR CMFT.
– INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) December 12, 2023
Luckily, Gandler's attack didn't hit any of Choco Mucho's blockers, which ended up sealing the deal for coach Dante Alinsunurin's charges.
“I thought what they (Cignal) were questioning was whether the ball went in or out. That's when I got nervous, so I expected it to be a block/touch challenge because the bench said there weren't any (touch). So, when I saw (the replay), I knew it was done”, explained the former Golden Tiger.
Even Kat Tolentino, who scored 17 points in the dub, asked Rondina again if the ball went in and she responded with humor.
“But did you get in?” Tolentino asked.
“'I don't know, man! (I don't know!)”, replied Rondina.
But with all challenges and celebrations largely complete as they prepare for war in 48 hours, Rondina has vowed to continue working for Choco Mucho while facing a formidable foe in sister team Creamline.
“Of course, the work continues and we will perform adequately, maintaining the same mentality. We are always ready against whoever we face. We know Creamline will give us a good fight and we will fight too.”