Gonzaga, Daquis turning reunion into successful Cignal HD run so far
Understandably so, with their powerhouse rosters, Creamline and F2 Logistics have gotten a lot of attention even before the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference got off the ground.
But there’s an old club with a reunited tandem of veterans that’s making heads turn just when the semifinals are about to start, with the duo rekindling old form that could hopefully result in another championship.
Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis are jelling at the right time, reliving their awesome-twosome team that helped Cignal to a Superliga crown in 2017 and making the HD Spikers look like a formidable force in the playoffs that get going Thursday at PhilSports Arena.
“I don’t like to brag, but every time we team up, we make the semis, the finals,” Gonzaga said in Filipino, moments after she and Daquis powered Cignal to a three-set demolition job of crowd-darling Choco Mucho for the last semis seat in Pool B on Tuesday. “I just play differently when with Rachel.”
Cignal battles PLDT in the 4 p.m. contest and “Gonzaquis” will obviously be a marked tandem even as the Cool Smashers and the Cargo Movers dispute the early lead in the 6 p.m. game.
“I think it’s because we are just very familiar with each other and I am happy playing with her,” Daquis, also in Filipino, said of playing a tournament with Gonzaga for the first time since 2019, when their successful duo was broken up with the lefty, being an Army sergeant, playing for the military squad.
“But credit goes to the whole team,” Daquis, who won the 2017 Invitational with Gonzaga, said. “Everyone performed, not just the two of us.”
With Army taking a leave, the door was opened for Gonzaga to seek playing opportunities elsewhere—one where she had a chance to win again.
The former national team mainstay had a lot of choices and she took the one that made perfect sense.
“Many people asked me why I chose Cignal even with other teams recruiting me,” Gonzaga said. “I said that I am already familiar with coach Shaq’s program and he really trusts me and Rachel is also there so I don’t have to start over again.”
Signing with Cignal was influenced a lot by Shaq delos Santos, the very man who handled the Philippine team at the prime of the careers of Gonzaga and Daquis.
“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,” Gonzaga said. “But coach Shaq was the first person to trust me and asked me to play for the national team.
“It (decision to sign with Cignal) all boils down to trust.”