Thank you, good bye!
With her lean 5-foot-10 frame, flawless skin and winsome smile, Rachel Anne Daquis easily catches everyone’s attention. The highly popular open spiker for Cignal in the Philippine Superliga also happens to be a force on the hard court.
A champion many times over with Far Eastern University in the UAAP, as well as with Philippine Army and Petron in volleyball’s commercial leagues, Daquis won the Most Valuable Player award in the 2015 PSL All Filipino Cup, which the Blaze Spikers won via 13-0 sweep.
That may explain the uproar in social media when she was relegated to the reserve list of the Philippine team that will see action in the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Seniors tournament next month. After all, to paraphrase a classic line from the movie “Dirty Dancing,” “nobody puts Rachel in a corner.”
For years, the 29-year-old Daquis painstakingly earned the tag “Face of Philippine volleyball.” During the Singapore SEA Games two years ago, giant posters bearing her image—she was an endorser for a top sports manufacturing company— adorned big malls around the Lion City’s OCBC Arena.
Daquis has represented the country in international tournaments since 2011 and was part of the pioneering PSL-Manila squad that played in the FIVB World Clubs Championships in 2016.
Fast-forward to last May’s AVC Asian Club Championship in Kazakhstan, where Daquis served as team captain of Philippine representative Rebisco-PSL and played the part well. She was on top of everything, from the team’s airport check-ins, to the daily bus rides, to the team bull sessions.
Over breakfast at Shiny River Hotel in Ust-Kamenogorsk, head coach Francis Vicente, worried sick by the bashing the national team was receiving in social media, tried to lighten the mood of the girls. After five matches in five days the team still could not buy a win against stronger clubs.
“Hey, girls, have you said hello to your bashers this morning?” Vicente asked his players.
Daquis offered a reply for the team in Filipino: “No coach. We have stopped checking [our social media accounts]. All we know is that we’re all very pretty!”
Her remark brought the house down and conveyed the correct attitude the team, including Vicente himself, took to ward off online critics.
So after Daquis was unceremoniously cut from the national team’s final roster by the coaching staff, supposedly in favor of younger and stronger open hitters, the news stunned her legions of fans, probably more than Daquis herself.
Yet, instead of moping, she stepped down from the national team and said she would take a “specialized training course” abroad to help her earn credentials as a future fitness guru.
“It was a very difficult decision for me because I have always aspired to represent our country,” Daquis said in a statement. “I am very grateful that you (national coaches) have considered me to be included in the team lineup. But I feel that there are other more capable candidates who can contribute more effectively to the team given the other priorities in my life that I must consider.”
That’s Daquis gracefully telling them: If you’re not giving me my rightful place in the grand ball, I’m skipping the party altogether.
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