PVL: Being in group of death brought out best of Cignal, says Daquis | Inquirer Sports

PVL: Being in group of death brought out best of Cignal, says Daquis

/ 07:15 PM March 24, 2022

Rachel Daquis Cignal PVL

Rachel Daquis. Photo from PVL

MANILA, Philippines — Rachel Anne Daquis believes being slated in the deadly Pool A brought the best out of Cignal to sweep the pool stage of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

Cignal, which finished dead last with only one win to show in the PVL bubble in Ilocos Norte, made a huge leap as a legit contender after dauntlessly sweeping its group.

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The HD Spikers took down formidable squads in defending champion Chery Tiggo, multi-titled F2 Logistics and a revamped Choco Mucho side featuring free agents signings like Desiree Cheng, Isa Molde and Aduke Ogunsanya.

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Daquis and Cignal clinched the No.1 spot and the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals after ousting Black Mamba-Army, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, to complete the Pool A sweep on Thursday at Paco Arena.

The 34-year-old spiker, who turned back time flashing vintage performances that resulted in a perfect 4-0 record, said the daunting task of being in the group of death motivated them to be a better team.

“Being part of this pool (of death) was a blessing. The tough challenge really helped us improve our skills and chemistry. We’re happy that we got the job done in the pool stage,” said Daquis, who delivered an all-around game of 13 points, 18 digs and 12 excellent receptions in beating her former team Black Mamba-Army.

After struggling last season, Daquis emerged as the HD Spikers’ stabilizer, averaging 12.5 points in four matches. It was a result of her nonstop strength and conditioning workouts amid the long hiatus caused by the pandemic, showing the rest of the league that she has a lot of gas left in her tank despite her age.

“That is how I work as an athlete. I didn’t stop even last season. I will keep on working hard and preparing not only today but also for the next games and next seasons to come,” she said.

The former Far Eastern University star said they are still applying all the things they learned from last year’s forgettable PVL debut. And she is happy and satisfied with her new teammates led by Ces Molina, who is still playing at a high level despite her right ankle sprain, as well as Angel Cayuna’s vast improvement in playmaking that scattered the offensive loads to Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses and Rose Doria.

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“I’m happy and contented with my teammates. I salute them, especially Ces. She continues to play her heart out even she has a sprained ankle. It feels good to have that kind of teammate on my side,” Daquis said.
“What happened to our team last season is already in the past. But we always remember all the things we learned from there. We won’t let that happen again. That’s why we worked hard every training and every game. Our last-place finish last year is our motivation.”

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Daquis stressed Cignal has not achieved anything yet as the PVL playoffs start next week as the HD Spikers face the winless Pool B team, BaliPure Purest Water Defenders (0-3) in the quarterfinals.

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PVL: Cignal claims No. 1 spot with sweep of Pool A

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TAGS: Cignal HD Spikers, PVL, Rachel Daquis

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