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PROFILE: Rachel Anne Daquis, Philippine volleyball's Maria Sharapova

Before Alyssa Valdez, Rachel Anne Daquis was the face of Philippine collegiate volleyball during her prime as the star spiker of Far Eastern University.

With her lighting fast attacks and drop-dead gorgeous looks that landed her numerous modelling stints, she was even dubbed by some fans as the local version of tennis superstar Maria Sharapova.

Apart from her looks, however, she has more in common with the Russian beauty than meets the eye: her grunting every time she hits the ball.

It was made for a curious sound amid the steady thumping of balls during the national team practice on Tuesday, but Daquis said it was an unconscious reflex she has had ever since her collegiate years.

"'Yun na 'yung parang nagiging [trademark], ako lang 'yung nakakagawa nang ganun," she told GMA News Online when training wrapped up for the day.


Daquis' grunts are nowhere as loud as Sharapova's, but she was one of the few local players who make the sound as they hit the ball. Former Ateneo spiker Charo Soriano used to grunt during her collegiate years, but she seemed to have outgrown it as a veteran playing for PLDT Home Ultera.

But Daquis has proudly carried the habit as she gives her all while preparing for the Southeast Asian Games, forcefully grunting even during hitting practice.

The Philippine Army spiker said she is happy to be a part the team that will try to put the country back on the map of international volleyball after 10 years of absence in the Southeast Asian Games.

"History ulit to dahil eto nagsisimula na naman tayo and alam naman natin kung gaano ka-hype ang volleyball dito sa Pilipinas," said Daquis, who won the Most Valuable Player award in the recently concluded Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference.

"Eto siguro 'yung magiging gauge natin kung ano na 'yung level nung volleyball sa Philipines," she added. "Basta for us 'yung part namin is we'll give our 100 percent and we will enjoy 'yung game and all-out dapat." -- JST, GMA News