ATENEO coach Anusorn Bundit looked the least bit perturbed after the Lady Eagles dropped a lopsided match to National University during the opening match of the UAAP women's volleyball season.
"I'm happy," the 46-year old Anusorn, Thailand's national team trainer for women's volleyball, said as he emerged from the Lady Eagles' dugout at the Big Dome. "They are very good, everybody fought good."
A 25-17, 25-22, 25-17 trouncing on Sunday at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs normally does not look good for last year's runner-up, but it has become clear from the words of Anusorn and team manager Tony Boy Liao that Ateneo's sights are set on the future.
"Okay lang, this team is not for this year, it's for the next years," Liao said. "Binigay ng mga bata ang best nila, 'yun nga lang talo kami."
Anusorn took over in September after five-year coach Roger Gorayeb stepped down to focus on his job at NCAA side San Sebastian, and the Thai mentor said his focus is on “making a new team.”
After the departure of Gorayeb and veterans Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi, the Lady Eagles are back in rebuilding mode this season as they hope to put together a team around Alyssa Valdez - the league's Best Scorer last season who is still eligible for three more seasons.
"May limang rookies kami ngayon, 'yung apat naglalaro na 'yung isa nagre-residency. Ganun din naman dati dun sa lima (Fab Five). Sana sa mga susunod na taon magawa rin nila (rookies 'yung nagawa ng Fab Five)," Liao said.
Of course, success this season will come as a big bonus, but it it clear that the school is willing to give the new-look Lady Eagles enough time to mature and develop.
"Pero madami kasi sa kanila first timers, lima ang rookies namin so hopefully in the next years makabalik kami sa Finals," Liao said.