LAOAG — Home workouts for more than a year made Rachel Anne Daquis and the Cignal HD Spikers ready for their volleyball comeback.
After the pandemic wiped out all volleyball tournaments and activities, players and coaches trained at home in front of their laptops or cellphones to keep themselves in shape.
Despite the year-long inactivity, the HD Spikers captain said their online routine made her team stronger for their Premier Volleyball League Open Conference debut against Perlas Spikers on Saturday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra.
“Ako I’m really ready kasi hindi kami nag stop, mas masipag kami nung pandemic kasi gusto namin ‘pag balik mas malakas kami,” said Daquis on Thursday after their one-hour training at the game venue.
The Far Eastern University standout admitted the team only had limited time for on-court trainings, given the restrictions of the pandemic.
But she’s still grateful that online workouts prepared them for this moment.
“Yung core preparation namin two months talaga. But siyempre kahit short lang yung preparation namin siyempre as an athlete, as a Cignal HD Spiker we did our best during trainings tapos personally nagpapa-condition talaga kami kahit pandemic,” Daquis said.
She added, “Pagdating sa court okay kami, hindi kami nahirapan, hindi kami back to zero kahit ganun lang siya kaiksi nabibigay namin yung best namin and okay naman yung training namin so far.”
Rachel Anne Daquis relishes on-court return
With volleyball finally returning to action in less than 24 hours, Daquis is relishing her grand return not only in an actual competition but also in the Sports Vision-organized league, where her career started to bloom.
“Siyempre dito tayo nag simula talaga e, sobrang excited and I know ang tagal talaga naming hinintay ‘to e, almost two years na din, so alam ko lahat kami excited,” she said.
Daquis describes the feeling of stepping back into the court after the long layover.
“Alam mo yun, pag apak pa lang ng court ‘pag na kita mo na yung lights, ‘pag nakita mo na yung taraflex, ‘pag nakita mo na yung net, parang kumbaga kikilabutan ka talaga,” she described.
Cignal lost two key players Fil-Am setter Alohi Robins-Hardy due to a lack of a Philippine passport, as well as longtime teammate Jovelyn Gonzaga, who will play for her mother club Army.
But the star outside hitter said holdovers Jheck Dionela, Janine Marciano, Fiola Ceballos, Roselyn Doria and Ranya Musa, as well as newcomers Ayel Estranero and Klarissa Abriam, have embraced their respective roles to work as one.
“Sobrang laking factor talaga nun kasi talagang main namin sila eh. Pero siyempre kung sino yung nandito na part ng team siyempre yun yung kailangan naming i-embrace kailangan namin mag work together as one cohesive unit,” Daquis said. “Kahit bago si Ayel and bago si Abriam, hindi sila mahirap ka-trabaho sobrang dali lang din nung work namin as a team.”
For the seasoned volleyball star, they are optimistic of their chances in this PVL bubble tournament even they are entering a new battlefield.
“We didn’t stop even though pandemic, mas naging responsible kami with our bodies kung paano namin ma-maintain yung kundisyon namin so I really believe na kaya namin until the end,” Daquis said.
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