Kisses for Tai Bundit as Alyssa Valdez and Co. express gratitude to 'super harsh' coach
Back-to-back MVP Alyssa Valdez believes the punishing training under Anusorn Bundit is all part of the labor of love. Jerome Ascano

ATENEO's regimen under Thai coach Tai Bundit had been described by media as tough, and now Alyssa Valdez gave an insight on how players take it.

“Monster siya sa training,” said the two-time UAAP MVP. “He is really super harsh in training.”

The punishing regimen has led to a 'love-hate relationship between coach and players, said Valdez who nonetheless said the team has nothing but respect for the Thai coach.

[See Sweep 16 for Ateneo as Lady Eagles cap unbeaten run with domination of La Salle Lady Spikers]

Valdez refused to give more details on how training is for Ateneo but people in the know said the Lady Eagles’ morning workout includes running the track oval five times and needing to finish in six minutes or less. For comparison, the women’s world record for 2,000 meters is five minutes and 25 seconds, held by Irish runner Sonia O’Sullivan.

The Lady Eagles also train in the evening for three hours — holding drills and doing additional workouts.

Bundit also infused meditation to the Lady Eagles’ training, and using ‘Heartstrong’ as a rallying cry in a stint that saw him steer the team to two UAAP titles in as many seasons.

“It’s a love-hate relationship. But it’s for the betterment of the team. Pero hands down to him talaga. Coach Tai deserves everything. He is really humble,” said Valdez, who even kissed Bundit after the Lady Eagles completed their back-to-back title romp.

[See Lady Eagles glad to score quick finish to title series and allow coach Tai Bundit well-deserved trip home]

Finals MVP Amy Ahomiro shared the same sentiments.

“We would not be here without him. We owe it to him and to everyone who supports us,” said Valdez.

The Lady Eagles gave Bundit a victory ride although that was cut short as the Thai coach nearly fell to the floor during the moment, drawing laughs from players and fans nearby who saw it.

Ateneo rookie Bea de Leon and graduating Ella De Jesus agreed the training was tough, but credited the coach for their progress as players.

“Kahit sobrang hirap (ng training), sobrang thankful ako sa kanya. He is the reason why we are here right now,” De Leon said.

Said De Jesus: “Binigyan niya ako ng tiwala sa sarili. Kaya nagkaroon ako ng confidence sa laro ko.”

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