CHOCO Mucho clinched its maiden victory in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Thailand at the expense of another Filipino team, Rebisco. — ASIAN VOLLEYBALL CONFEDERATION

TEAM Choco Mucho-Philippines scored its maiden victory at the expense of fellow Filipino selection Rebisco in four sets in Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship action on Wednesday at the Terminal 21 KORAT in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Powered by Kalei Mau, Ria Meneses and MJ Phillips, Choco Mucho repulsed Rebisco after giving away the opening set for a 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, and 25-17 win in the all-Filipino consolation-round match.

Behind the net defense of Ms. Meneses, the reigning Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Best Blocker, and the firepower of Mses. Mau and Phillips, Choco Mucho raced to a double-digit lead in the second set, before again leading by eight in the third frame to take control.

Rebisco had erased a 10-14 deficit in the first set, leaning on the attacks of veterans Aby Marano and Dindin Santiago-Manabat, to take a 24-21 lead and eventually take the opening set prior.

But Choco Mucho, coached by former University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses mentor Odjie Mamon, would not be denied in the fourth set, taking an 18-12 advantage to clinch the win over Brazilian head coach Jorde Souza de Brito’s troops.

Rebisco earlier lost to Nakhon Ratchasima QminC in the quarterfinals, 0-3, while Choco Mucho suffered the same fate to another host club in Supreme Chonburi, 0-3. Prior to their clash, both squads were winless in the elimination round of the tournament.

With the win, Choco Mucho gained a chance to improve its overall finish as it now heads to the battle for fifth place against Kazakhstan club Zhetysu, which had lost its quarterfinals duel to Iranian side Saipa Tehran last Monday. Rebisco, on the other hand, shall settle for the last place in the seven-team competition.

Meanwhile, the Rebisco men’s Philippine contingent left for Nakhon Ratchasima on Tuesday night to compete in the AVC Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship slated to open on Friday, Oct. 8.

It will be the first international competition for the national team handled by coach Dante Alinsunurin since the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila.

John Vic De Guzman will captain the team, which includes Rex Intal, Mark Alfafara, Ricky Marcos, Ish Polvorosa, Jessie Lopez, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura, Josh Retamar and Jao Umandal.

Ysay Marasigan, who played in the 2015 SEA Games, is also returning, while Nico Almendras, Manuel Sumanguid and JP Bugaoan are all making their senior debut.