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.