Aside from annexing another crown, Creamline stars Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and the rest of the Cool Smashers will march into Game 2 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference against Ateneo-Motolite with an added motivation: give head coach Tai Bundit a fitting farewell gift.
The Cool Smashers hope to complete a sweep of the title series on Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum before bidding goodbye to the Thai mentor, who midway in the season-ending conference already told reporters of his plan to leave the country for good to be with his family.
“I think in this conference, we’re gonna play it for coach Tai not because siguro makakapahinga kami pero he deserves kung ano man ‘yung nangyari sa game na ito,” said Valdez, who will lead the Cool Smashers in the pivotal clash set at 4:00 p.m.
The exciting action will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream.
Creamline easily overpowered the Lady Eagles, 25-17, 25-10, 25-15, in the series opener last Wednesday with Bundit outclassing Ateneo-Motolite tactician Oliver Almadro with a superb game plan that neutralized the young and energetic squad’s height advantage.
Now on the brink of claiming their second straight title after ruling the Reinforced Conference, Valdez and the Cool Smashers will try to hand Bundit another championship in his Philippine coaching swan song.
“Hopefully mabigay namin yung deserve niya talaga,” said Valdez, who played under Bundit since 2013. “For Coach Tai talaga ang conference na ‘to.”
Bundit was tapped by Ateneo to coach its women’s team as replacement for Roger Gorayeb back in the 2013-2014 UAAP season.
Injecting his ‘happy, happy’ and ‘heart strong’ mantra, Bundit turned the Lady Eagles into a title-contender with Valdez, setter Jia Morado and top libero Denden Lazaro as their core.
In just his first year with the Lady Eagles, Bundit was able to steer the Katipunan-based squad to its breakthrough UAAP title in Season 76 in an amazing Cinderella finish that saw Ateneo topple the De La Salle University’s dynasty in four grueling games despite the Lady Spikers’ thrice-to-beat advantage.
The following year saw Bundit pilot the Lady Eagles to a rare season sweep in the UAAP. He resigned after Season 80 and was replaced by Almadro.
“Lahat kami most of us on that court at some point in our college careers (played for coach Tai). Si Coach Tai marami siyang pinalakas sa amin and I’m pretty sure kahit hindi na niya hawak yung isang player alam na niya kung ano yung kakayahan ng isang player na yun,” said Morado of the fact that most of the Ateneo-Motolite’s key pieces played under Bundit.
An advantage that the Cool Smashers will surely exploit once again to avoid getting into a do-or-die match on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
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