Rachelle Anne Daquis, the former national team skipper and unquestioned leader of the HD Spikers, is the only remaining key stalwart from last year’s champion team.
Philippine Superliga/Roman Prospero
Daquis left as Cignal's de facto leader in PSL
Voltaire Mendoza (Associated Press) - June 18, 2018 - 11:56am

MANILA, Philippines – Rachel Anne Daquis will serve as the heart and soul when reigning champion Cignal marches to the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference that kicks off this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Daquis, the former national team skipper and unquestioned leader of the HD Spikers, is the only remaining key stalwart from last year’s champion team.

Jovelyn Gonzaga and Janine Marciano are still on rehabilitation procedure after crashing with an anterior cruciate ligament at the tailend of the Grand Prix last year while Chie Saet and Paneng Mercado bolted out to join the rival league.

Another spiker in Royse Tubino jumped into Cocolife before moving back to Smart-Philippine Army while Maica Morada went abroad.

Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga said it’s time for Daquis to step up and lead her team against the giants of this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5, Hyper and Aksyon TV as official broadcast partners.

“She is our leader,” said Barroga, who was the team manager when George Pascua led them to the Invitationals title together with Kobe Shinwa University of Japan last year.

Barroga said he’s devising some plays to utilize the attacking prowess and bring back the confidence of Daquis, the Most Valuable Player when Petron made a historic sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015.

He refused to delve into details, but stressed that Daquis will anchor the offense together with national pool member Mylene Paat while Cherry Vivas, Shirley Salamagos and Jheck Dionela take care of the defensive end.

“We’re devising some plays, especially for Rachel,” said Barroga, who is leading his wards in a four-day team-building session in Baguio City.

“We know that she’s been hampered with injuries the past couple of conferences. We want to bring back her confidence. And we want her to lead us back to the title.”

Barroga added that they may not be as star-studded as before, but they are out to prove that they will fight tooth and nail before surrendering their crown.

“All teams are very strong. This is a very competitive tournament,” he said.

“Our key players from last year may be gone, but we are out to prove that we are the hardest working team. We will do everything to defend our title.”

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