Shaq on Rachel Anne Daquis resolve
Feeling the effects of the grueling schedule that the HD Spikers had to go through, the mentor wanted to manage the minutes of the outside hitter.
"Kung napansin niyo yung first two sets, nag-usap kami and sabi ko nga, 'Chel, ready ka lang pero ayoko lang ma-push at mapagod ka sa game na ito.' Kaya inaalalayan ko rin siya. Hindi na rin siya bata," said Delos Santos, wary of the fatigue that has fallen on Daquis especially after she cramped in Game Three of the semis two days back.
Ever the warrior, Daquis still gave it her all and pumped 10 points in Cignal's four-set loss to Choco Mucho on Thursday.
It may not be according to Delos Santos' plan but he couldn't help but praise Daquis, saying "Iba talaga yung fighting spirit niya eh."
"Sabi niya kanina, 'Sige coach, ipasok mo ako dyan. Sabi ko, 'Mag-ready ka lang at ita-timing ko lang yung pasok mo.' Kaya nung una ko siyang pinasok, nasa serve siya and then defense para ma-warm up siya kasi ayoko naman ng biglang palo siya agad. Sobrang iniingatan namin kasi ganun namin ka-love yung players namin and ayaw namin may ma-disgrasya."
But it's a problem that isn't limited to Daquis alone as delos Santos tries to finish the season for the HD Spikers without any incident.
Aside from Daquis, Ria Meneses is nursing a knee injury while main contributors like Angeli Araneta and Gel Cayuna only played limited minutes.
"Yung mga players din namin, to be honest, meron talagang masasakit. Pinipilit din talaga lumaban ng players namin," he said.
Yet this only opens opportunity for the other players like Klarisa Abriam and Marist Layug to take full advantage of the nod, one that delos Santos remarked, "Nakakaproud kasi sobrang tapang nila."
"Nakakatuwa na ang akala ng iba wala lang sila. Sa amin, alam namin na kaya nila kaya sabi ko nga kanina, ito yung opportunity para mailabas yung talent nila."
All hope isn't lost, though, and Delos Santos wants Cignal to sweep Game Two to assure itself of a headstart in this bronze medal match.
"I’m sure magiging mahirap siya pero hopefully makuha namin siya ng tatlong sets kasi yun yung chance namin," he said. "Kung apat na set man, dapat mababa yung score. But knowing Choco Mucho, alam mo naman yung team, yung respect namin sa kanila so kailangan mag-ready din kami."