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The passion and maturity of Rachel Anne Daquis

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Last May 14, 2015, majority of the volleybelles who played in the Philippine Super Liga Finals also played a game early in the afternoon for the Shakey’s V-League. One of those players who made the trip from the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City to the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City was recently crowned PSL Most Valuable Player Rachel Anne Daquis.

To put things in perspective, this summer has been the busiest volleyball schedule in recent Filipino sports history. Daquis, for example, has played a total of 21 indoor volleyball games in a span of six weeks. That number does not include the games she played during the Nestea Beach Volleyball tournament during the Labor Day weekend.

When Tiebreaker Times caught up with Daquis, she told us that passion is what fueled her throughout the grind. “Sacrifice. Kelangan talaga nandun ‘yung passion mo para sa sport mo. ‘Yung passion mo ang magdadala sa’yo para hindi indahin ang pagod at sakit na nararamdaman mo. At pag na-kondisyon mo na ang sarili mo, makakamit mo na ang goal mo which is sa amin ang manalo.”

Moreover, games #20 and #21 for Daquis were scheduled on the same day with the prior game being a five-setter [Read: Lady Troopers grab first SVL semis win; outlast Power Spikers]. In a pivotal moment during the fourth set of Game 2 of the PSL AFC Finals, after an attempt to block the ball, Rachel eventually clutched her left knee and signaled to her head coach that she suddenly cramped up. It was a sign that Daquis was human after all.

“Pagod din yun eh, pero sinabi ko sa sarili ko kaya ko pa ‘to. Pero kahit nung nag cramp-up ako [during the fourth set], sabi ko sa sarili ko kakayanin ko to, papasok ako at tatapusin ko ‘to, ‘yun na lang ang inaatupag ko sa sarili ko. Di ko na pinansin yung pagod, pero ayaw na ni coach [Pascua] na pabalikin ako sa game,” Daquis quipped.

She was determined to finish the game since she sacrificed a lot, from times spending with her family to her career outside of volleyball, to be where they are now. “During this season, tinigil ko talaga lahat, especially ang modeling career ko, just to focus. Kung kumuha man ako ng project, yung piling-pili talaga, yung tipong di makaka-interfere sa practice ang games ng teams ko.”

Yet, she remains humble even in winning the championship and the most valuable player tiara, she deflected all the credit to her teammates; namely, to Aby Maraño: “Sobrang laking bagay ang addition ni Aby [Maraño]. Pagdating namin sa court nafeefeel namin parang kami ang siga, may added intensity na nadagdag sa amin. Sobrang laking tulong niya sa depensa kahit nagkakalapse kami, siya ang sumasalo sa amin.”

“Ako, si Din, si Aby, and si Jen, lagi ko sila kinakausap na tulungan nila ako sa game. Kasi kami rin ang seniors sa team, kelangan namin maging leaders ng team di lang sa court pati sa labas din,” the Petron Blaze Lady Booster told us when asked about how special this team is. But beyond that, even off the court, the team is a close-knit group and it might have been the reason the group swept the season. “Lahat kami naging close kasi lahat kami mga kalog pero pag game na, todo ang effort na binibigay ng lahat. Kumbaga may balance ng saya at trabaho.”

Truly, Rachel Daquis has matured into a good leader not just for her team but for her legions of fans as well. “Actually kung naglalaro kami ng out of town games, di ko na iniisip ang venue. Ang audience na iniisip ko. Kasi gusto ko maging role model sa mga bata ngayon na gusto maglaro ng volleyball. If balang araw gusto nila makapaglaro, balang araw mapanood sa TV, sana maging magandang ehemplo ako sa kanila.”

Volleyball will continue on for Rachel Anne Daquis. Even if the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference just ended and the Shakey’s V-League in its Final Four stage, a new opportunity for Daquis came up as she was included in the National Women’s Volleyball team pool set to compete in the South East Asian Games. It is a dream come true for her to represent the country and she promises to give her best, not just in the competition, but also to represent the flag.

With her maturity and leadership, Rachel Anne Daquis has made the leap from being a great volleyball player to one of the icons of local volleyball.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win

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Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Basketball

Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots

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Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Basketball

Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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ABL

Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win

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Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

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