ATENEO has hired Thailand juniors national coach Anusorn Bundit to be part of the coaching staff of the women’s volleyball team for the coming UAAP tournament set to open on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Team manager Tony Boy Liao said Bundit is one of the top coaches in Thailand having produced several national team players back home. The Thai, Liao added, has been with the team since August as he presides over the new-look Lady Eagles’ preparation for the coming season.
Liao clarified that Bundit is not yet the head coach on paper as the set-up is somewhat similar to that of Serbian basketball coach Rajko Toroman, who was named the ‘active consultant’ for his former teams Petron and Barako Bull in the PBA.
Parley Tupaz is currently the head coach of the team but Liao said he is in the process of talking with Ateneo management with regards to the status of Bundit.
Former Lady Eagles coach Roger Gorayeb stepped down in June to focus on his job at San Sebastian after his last coaching stint with the team in the Shakey's V-League.
Bundit joined the team after Gorayeb's departure.
“We are in discussions sa mga pari na gawin na siyang head coach. Ang directive kasi nila is to get a high-profile coach. Pero wala ng high-profile dahil lahat ng coaches nasa kanya-kanyang eskwela na kaya siya ang kinuha ko,” Liao said.
Another reason why Bundit's appointment has not been made official is because of the chance that he may be recalled to Thailand to fulfill his duties as the juniors team coach.
“Tatapusin niya ang UAAP unless tawagin uli sila ng Thailand team na bumalik… Siya rin mismo ang nagsabi na subukan muna namin siya kasi baka hindi namin magustuhan ‘yung style niya sa training,” said Liao.
Liao said he doesn’t see any issue with the hiring of a foreign coach in the UAAP. “Alama naman ng ibang eskwelahan. Wala naman akong nakikitang issue,” he said.
Ateneo finished second in last year’s UAAP wars to De La Salle. But with the departure of key players from last year’s squad in Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer, A Nacachi, and Gretchen Ho, Liao is keeping his hopes on the team in check despite the hiring of Bundit.
“Definitely, this year, medyo mahihirapan. Ang target lang namin is umabot sa Final Four. Pero we are preparing for the future,” said Liao.
The Lady Eagles will face title contender National University in the season opener.