NO MORE HEARTSTRONG: Tai Bundit out after UAAP 79?

Mark Escarlote on Dec 24, 2016 02:50 PM
NO MORE HEARTSTRONG: Tai Bundit out after UAAP 79?
Team manager Tony Boy Liao (far left) and Ateneo de Manila head coach Tai Bundit could be heading to the exit door after UAAP Season 79.

Head coach Tai Bundit could be looking at UAAP Season 79 as his final year of service for the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles following the reported sacking of team manager Tony Boy Liao by the school’s management.

Liao told ABS-CBN Sports via phone interview Saturday that the Thai mentor, who steered the Lady Eagles to back-to-back UAAP titles in Season 76 and 77, will follow his exit from the Katipunan-based squad.          

“Kung ganoon ang mangyayari sabi ni Tai kung wala ako (sa team) wala na rin siya diyan,” said Liao, who is in San Francisco, USA for the holidays. “Si Tai kasi ang sabi sa akin kung aalis ako sasama na rin siya.”

Liao brought Bundit to the squad in 2013 to replace Roger Gorayeb and immediately turned the then young rebuilding squad led by third year player Alyssa Valdez into an instant success story, injecting his 'happy' style of play and heart strong mantra.

The Lady Eagles won its first UAAP title under his rookie year of watch in four dramatic games in the championship series against thrice-to-beat arch nemesis De La Salle University. Ateneo the following year made history with a rare 16-game sweep of the season.

The Lady Eagles finished second in Season 78 after falling short in three games of the Finals series against the Lady Spikers in Valdez’s swan song.             

“Ako kasi ang nagdala sa kanya (Bundit) dito sa Maynila,” added Liao. “Para kasi sa kanya parang di maganda na kung aalis ako tapos maiiwan siya.”

Athletic director Em Fernandez according to earlier reports confirmed that they parted ways with Liao following the new rule of the school’s management on their athletic program. 

“Ang Ateneo kasi ngayon they wanted na wala ng manager sa mga teams,” Liao explained.

But the team manager is yet to confirm if it’s final.

“Actually di ko pa nakakausap ang athletic office about it. Eh kung ganoon ang gusto nila wala naman na akong magagawa,” said Liao, who is also the tournament director of V-League.

“For me there’s no problem naman if ganyan ang bagong rule nila. I think It will also be better for me kung wala na rin akong duties sa team. Mag-concentrate na lang din ako sa V-League,” he continued. “Pero ang pagkakaalam ko I’m still the manager.”

“Pagbalik ko galing sa States kakausapin ko ang opisina about it,” Liao said. “Pagbalik ko I will talk din kay (former Ateneo athletic director) Ricky Palou about it kasi like ‘yung basketball team bakit si Epok (Quimpo) nandoon pa rin and ‘yung ibang teams may manager din?”

Liao will fly back to Manila on January 6 and will join the squad in its Japan training camp.

The Lady Eagles went to Thailand a week ago for its first leg of training before its Osaka, Japan stop from January 2 to 14 as part of their build up for the UAAP wars starting February 4.




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