Bea De Leon emerged as the unexpected leader for Choco Mucho in their triumphant sweep of Gerflor, setting the stage for their much-anticipated return to the Premier Volleyball League Second All-Filipino Conference semifinals.
De Leon, who spent most of the conference on the sidelines, seized the opportunity to shine on the court, delivering a standout performance at the Philsports Arena. The Flying Titans dominated with scores of 25-16, 25-17, and 25-11, securing their ninth consecutive victory in a compelling fashion.
As the team captain, De Leon's presence above the net proved pivotal, as she unleashed five kill blocks, culminating in an impressive 13-point contribution to the team's success. Reflecting on her performance, the former UAAP champion acknowledged the boost in confidence that came with the opportunity to showcase her skills on such a significant stage.
"Of course, it means a lot to my confidence. As Coach mentioned, we have consecutive games ahead, back-to-back," shared De Leon. "It's been a while, so my confidence in this game has also risen. Hopefully, when the time comes, and Coach looks for someone to step up, we'll be ready."
Choco Mucho is now on the brink of a groundbreaking semifinal appearance, marking their first since the 2022 Open Conference, where they secured a commendable fourth-place finish. The journey to this point has been arduous, with the Flying Titans grappling to secure a playoff spot in the four consecutive conferences that followed.
The breakthrough finally materialized in the Second All-Filipino Conference, as they clinched a hard-fought, five-set victory over PLDT last Thursday. De Leon expressed her relief and excitement at seeing the team reach the semifinals after a prolonged and challenging wait.
"We've been waiting for this for so long, honestly. Choco Mucho has been around for four, almost five years, and reaching the semifinals has always been part of the goal," said De Leon. "It's been a bit hazy in the middle, but now that we see it, we're not counting on other teams to lose. We're not tallying points and hoping for others to falter. People are asking us if we're choosing our opponent, and we're not. We're just incredibly happy to be here, experiencing the highs and lows together. We're just thankful to be in this position."