PBA D-League: Daquioag thriving in Phoenix-FEU’s lead role
Out due to an ankle sprain in their first meeting, Ed Daquioag made sure he would be a big presence when Phoenix-FEU and Caida Tile begun their 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals series.
And the UST stalwart delivered, pouring 11 points in the first quarter to finish with 32 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in the Accelerators’ 90-83 Game 1 victory on Tuesday.
Daquioag has truly been a huge addition to Phoenix, whose core is composed of players from UAAP champion FEU squad.
“Sabi nga ni coach sa amin, hindi pwedeng si Mac (Belo) lang,” he said, recounting their eliminations meeting. “Naka-41 points si Mac nung unang laro pero talo naman kami. Sabi ni coach kelangan may mag-step up talaga sa amin.”
The Accelerators lost to the Tile Masters, 108-91, last February 15.
Daquioag has blended well with his rivals turned teammates, forming a dangerous backcourt with playmaker Mike Tolomia and gunner Roger Pogoy.
“Siguro nakapag-adjust na rin ako sa sistema ni coach. Sa practice talagang ine-emphasize namin na kung sino yung libre, kailangan syang hanapin at sya yung titira,” he said.
His improved play could also be attributed to challenge posed by Caida’s bevy of guards, bannered by Jiovani Jalalon, Rey Nambatac, and Jonathan Grey.
“Nakakalaban ko na rin sila sa mga tune-up. Alam ko na yung mga tendencies nila, pero alam din naman nila yung laro ko,” he said. “Siguro hindi lang sila nakapag-adjust sa akin.”
But more than anything, Daquioag knows the huge opportunity Phoenix-FEU has been given, going up 1-0 in the best-of-3 semifinals series.
“Champion team ito ng UAAP kaya yung winning mentality, nandyan na,” he said. “Magandang stepping stone ito para sa akin, lalo na siguro pag nakuha namin yung Game 2 sa Martes.”
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