FAR Eastern University experienced a sudden surge after acquiring national team mainstays and Army spikers as reinforcements, zooming from struggling squad to conference champion.
But Rachel Anne Daquis is deflecting the credit after claiming another Finals MVP award — she won it with Army in Season 8 — insisting it was a total team effort that earned the Lady Tamaraws their first-ever Shakey's V-League title in 11 seasons in the pioneering volleyball league.
Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga, Army teammates and national team mainstays, led the way for the FEU squad that turned back perennial contender Adamson in the semifinals and title holder National University in the finals.
The team that went 3-2 in the preliminaries went on to win six of the next seven matches as soon as Daquis and Gonzaga came onboard.
The Lady Tamaraws dropped just four of 25 sets played with their new reinforcements, shutting out the Lady Bulldogs in the finals with a 26-24, 26-24, 25-22 win in the opener and pulling off a 21-25, 23-25, 18-25 to seal the title.
But the 26-year-old Daquis said more than scoring, she and Gonzaga were brought in to show the way for the young FEU players.
“Para sa amin ni Jovelyn nakita namin ang FEU potential so kami nag-step up kami as leader, kasi lahat sila may skills, lahat sila kaya mag-contribute, so kami ang ginawa lang namin makapagbigay din ng contribution na maangat namin ang morale nila,” said Daquis.
Daquis noted that young FEU leader Bernadette Pons managed to keep in step with them, averaging over 15 points after the preliminaries.
The Pons-Daquis-Gonzaga trio averaged 47 points in the semifinals and finals.
“’Yung mga bata sobrang hanga kami ni Jovelyn kasi hindi sila nagpapaiwan, kung umaangat kami umaangat din sila. Kaya din kami nanalo kasi buo kami 'di lang dahil sa aming dalawa," she added.
Coach Shaq de los Santos was all smiles after adding a league-best fourth V-League title to the three wins he had with University of Santo Tomas.
“Sobrang laki ng tulong ng dalawa naming guest players, kasi ang goal talaga namin kaya namin sila kinuha is maging leaders sila at madala nila ang mga bata sa loob ng court,” said De los Santos.
Daquis, who played for the Lady Tamaraws from 2004 to 2008, was also pleased to get a win in an FEU jersey.
“Syempre masaya kasi ang tagal ko nang graduate sa FEU, guest (player) na lang ako ngayon, kaya masaya kasi finally nauwi namin ang crown," said Daquis, who won a UAAP title with FEU in 2008.