MANILA, Philippines - When the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws needed someone to lift them to their first ever Shakey's V-League finals appearance, they relied on somebody who knows exactly how to take them to the last dance: Rachel Anne Daquis.
Years after her glorious UAAP stint, the queen Tamaraw is back in gold and green, and what a way to suit up again for her alma mater by steering the FEU crew to their maiden finals stint at the 11th Shakey's V-League First Conference.
"Syempre masaya at masarap mag-serve para sa Alma Mater mo," Daquis, who led the Army Lady Troopers to V-League and Philippine Super Liga titles in the past, told Rappler.
(It feels wonderful to be able to serve your alma mater again)
"Kahit na hindi na kami naglalaro sa UAAP, yung experiences at journey namin at yung leadership, yung ang gusto naming ma-adopt nila."
(Even if we are not in the UAAP anymore, our experiences and leadership are some aspects of the game we want the younger players to adopt)
Daquis, who has taken the UAAP volleyball spotlight during the 2000s with her dazzling looks and superb skills alike, is back in the mix and her volleyball dominance hasn't faded one bit.
In their knockout semifinals match against the Adamson University Lady Falcons, Daquis poured 26 points on 22 attacks and 3 blocks while powering the Morayta-based spikers with leadership to help them make the grand finale.
Revenge vs National U
And with Daquis facing National University - her 2013 V-League conquerors - the chase for history gets even hotter as she seeks vengeance.
The National University Lady Bulldogs will be back with their championship roster composed of Dindin and Jaja Santiago, Myla Pablo, Carmina Aganon, and guest players Rubie De Leon and Jen Reyes and will all try to deny Daquis and the rest of the Lady Tamaraws that piece of history.
But Daquis, who suited up for Ateneo de Manila in last year's finals and lost two games to one over the Lady Bulldogs, is now back with what she believes is a stronger crew.
"Skills-wise, nandoon na for FEU eh. Yun na lang leadership and yun ang gusto namin maitulong as guest player para manalo kami," she said.
(In terms of skills, the players already have it. We just want to help them win by showing the leadership as guest players)
The 26-year-old lass joins forces with another star-caliber guest player in Jovelyn Gonzaga, the reigning Shakey's V-League Open Conference Most Valuable Player, plus a solid cast composed of phenom Bernadeth Pons, Mary Palma, Geneveve Casugod, and setter Yna Papa.
Daquis firmly hopes he could serve revenge to the Sampaloc side this time.
"Gusto rin makabawi, pero more importantly gusto naming manalo para sa FEU," she added.
(We want to get back at NU but more importantly, we want this championship for FEU)
Game 1 of their best of three titular showdown begins on Sunday, May 18 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.