NATIONAL team mainstays Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis took charge for Far Eastern University as expected as the Lady Tamaraws claimed a spot in the semifinals with a 25-16, 25-15, 24-26, 25-16 win over Arellano University on Tuesday in the V-League First Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
Taking a bigger role this this time after their first appearance with FEU just two days ago, former Finals MVP Daquis and former conference MVP Gonzaga delivered 21 and 20 points, respectively, as the Lady Tamaraws improved to 2-1 in Group II and joined defending champion National University (2-0) in the semis.
They were brought in to take charge of a young squad that had been leaning on rookie Bernadette Pons, and Gonzaga and Daquis did just that, to the delight of FEU coach Shaq de los Santos.
“Napakalaki ng tulong ng dalawang guest players namin kahit nara-rattle na ang mga bata nadadala nila sila pabalik sa laro,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos, who tapped the two nationals to replace Toni Basas and Gyzelle Sy.
Daquis only attended practice twice and Gonzaga went to training once before Sunday’s straight-sets win over College of St. Benilde, and the two veterans are pleased to deliver right away and help FEU’s rising stars.
“Pag kasi trabaho, pag pinatawag kami sa Army, ’yun ang priority,” said Gonzaga. “Pero ang maitutulong kasi namin (ni Rachel) sa team is ’yung motivation sa mga bata,” said the 22-year-old Gonzaga.
“Maliban sa palo, sa serve at sa mga skills, 'yung ma-motivate namin sila, 'yun ang gusto namin madala sa team.”
Delos Santos was also happy to overcome a 0-1 record at the start of the quarterfinals. The Morayta-based Lady Tams carried over their loss to NU in the eliminations to the next round.
“Syempre very happy, masarap sa pakiramdam na naka-survive kami doon sa chance (0-1) na ’yun,” he said.
Danna Henson came up with 11 markers for the Lady Chiefs, who dropped to 1-2 and out of the semifinal race along with St. Benilde (0-2).