PVL: Jovelyn Gonzaga-Rachel Daquis duo proves deadly form for semis-bound Cignal
MANILA, Philippines — Complementing each other’s game, longtime teammates Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis brought Cignal back to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) semifinals.
Gonzaga and Daquis proved to be one of the most reliable pairs in Philippine volleyball as they led the HD Spikers past the Sisi Rondina-led Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 25-15, 25-21, 25-21, in a virtual do-or-die Pool B match to enter the Invitational Conference semifinal round on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
“Alam mo nakakatuwa kasi tuwing magsasama kami ni Buday (Rachel), nakakapasok tayo, no bragging ah, nakakapasok kami ng semis, ng finals so iba talaga yung laro ko pag andiyan si Rachel,” said Gonzaga, who showed the way with 13 points, eight digs, and four excellent receptions.
“Siyempre self proclaim ko na iba rin yung laro ni Rachel pag kasama niya ako. Feeling ko nagboboil down siya sa trust talaga kung bakit naging ganito kami,” she added.
(I feel glad because we reach the semis or finals every time I team up with Rachel. I’m not bragging but I play differently when Rachel is on my side. And I will self-proclaim that Rachel also plays differently when I’m with her. It all boils down to the trust.)
Gonzaga and Daquis, who first played together for Army in the Shakey’s V-league, steered Cignal to an Invitational title in 2017 when it was still playing in the Philippine Superliga and brought the franchise to the All-Filipino Finals but lost to F2 Logistics four years ago.
The tandem called ‘GonzaQuis’ were separated when Gonzaga had to play for her mother club Army for the first two seasons of the PVL before the military squad opted to skip the midseason tournament that led to their reunion.
Daquis, who backed up Gonzaga with 12 points to claim the last semifinal ticket from Pool B and win three straight games to end the first round, felt that they haven’t missed a beat playing together.
“Sobrang happy ako na kasama ko lagi si Jovs. Pag nandoon kami sa loob, kabisado na talaga namin yung kilos,” said the Cignal captain. “Pero ang credit talaga sa buong team. Hindi lang sa aming dalawa. Sa buong coaching staff, sa buong Cignal, at nag-perform lahat. Nadagdag si Jovs, si Vanie [Gandler], si Gelai [Nunag]. Sabi ko nga, naging deep yung core namin. Kahit sino ipasok, ready.”
(I’m so happy because I am playing again with Jov. Whenever we play together on the court, we are really familiar with each other’s movements. But credit to the whole team, everyone performed, not just the two of us. The addition of Jov, Vanie, and Gelai made our core deeper. Whoever checks in is ready.)
Gonzaga also credited her former Philippine women’s volleyball team coach Shaq Delos Santos for continuously trusting her after missing the first conference due to her commitment to the beach volleyball national team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May.
“When I returned from an ACL injury in 2019, I already accepted the fact that I can no longer return to the national team because I was out of shape. But coach Shaq was the first person to trust me and asked me to play for the national team,” the veteran opposite spiker said in Filipino. “Many people asked me why I chose Cignal amid the other teams recruiting me. I said that I am already familiar with coach Shaq’s program and he really trusts me, Rachel is also there so I don’t have to start over again. It all boils down to the trust.”
But the job is not yet finished for Gonzaga and Daquis as Cignal, which will carry over a 0-1 record heading to the semis round due to their first-round loss to F2 Logistics, opens its semis round against PLDT (0-1) on Thursday at 4 p.m.
The HD Spikers will also take on Pool A leader Creamline (1-0) on Saturday before facing Japanese squad Kurashiki Ablaze and Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh next week as the top two teams of the semis will advance to the winner-take-all Final on July 30.