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Valdez, Morado pay tribute to Thai coach

(L-R) Jia Morado, coach Tai Bundit and Alyssa Valdez
(L-R) Jia Morado, coach Tai Bundit and Alyssa Valdez
(L-R) Jia Morado, coach Tai Bundit and Alyssa Valdez
(L-R) Jia Morado, coach Tai Bundit and Alyssa Valdez

by Kristel Satumbaga

Creamline stars Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado credited their success as volleyball players to Thai coach Tai Bundit, who honed them them through his “tough love” and “heartstrong” mentoring mantra.

Morado, who bagged her third Best Setter plum and Finals Most Valuable Player award in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Saturday, said she wouldn’t forget how Bundit pushed them beyond their limits during training since their collegiate days in Ateneo.

“He has high standards for me because even if I feel like I’m playing my best, there is always something that he wants to improve to me,” said Morado shortly after Creamline won its second PVL title at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15, at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Twice-a-day trainings that last for four to five hours – even on weekends – has become part of life for Valdez, Morado and the rest of the Ateneo Lady Eagles when Bundit started coaching them in 2013. Valdez and Morado had the opportunity to play for him after their collegiate career for Creamline and it felt like college again.

Since taking Ateneo’s coaching helm until his last mentoring stint for Creamline last weekend, both Valdez and Morado have racked up awards and championship titles. Valdez, in particular, also bagged her fifth MVP trophy in the league.

“We never thought that we’ll reach to where we are right now if it wasn’t for him (Bundit),” said Valdez. “He’s one of the coaches who really believed in us and that’s important.”

Bundit also showed his love to his players, saying that he is proud that six of his stalwarts bagged individual plums in this year’s PVL Conference: Morado, Valdez, Creamline’s Jema Galanza (2nd Best Outside Spiker), and Ateneo’s Maddie Madayag (1st Best Middle Blocker) and Kat Tolentino (Best Opposite Spiker).

Even Coach Oliver Almadro, who is replacing Bundit in Ateneo’s UAAP campaign next year, admitted he’s got some big shoes to fill.

“He’s one of the instruments on why Philippine volleyball is where it is now,” said Almadro.

“He started the ‘heart strong’ of the players,” he added.

Bundit is expected to return to Thailand next week to focus on his family first, but admitted that he is not closing his door to coach again in the country in the future.

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Written by Tempo Online

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