Five years ago, Philippine volleyball fans were endeared to a dancing Thai coach, who with his on-court antics and few english words - which fueled his wards, turned the Ateneo women’s volleyball team into a celebrated champion team in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Fast forward to 2018, Anusorn Bundit, or simply coach Tai, will bid his farewell and will go back to Thailand to be with his family for good.
“I hope and I believe that Philippine will maybe remember me,” Bundit said on Thursday during the SPIN Sportsman of the Year 2018 at Crowne Plaza.
It felt like it wasn’t so long ago when Bundit was tapped to call the shots for the Lady Eagles in September 2013, replacing Roger Gorayeb.
With him at the helm, Ateneo ended back-to-back bridesmaid finishes and defeated then a thrice-to-beat La Salle in the 2014 UAAP Season 76 title match - the Lady Eagles’ first championship in the UAAP after joining the league in 1978.
Since then, Bundit earned the love and respect of not only Ateneo fans but their opponents as well.
His ‘happy, happy’ and ‘heartstrong’ mantra made the impossible possible for the Lady Eagles.
After his first year with the Katipunan-based squad, Ateneo remained in the finals in the next three seasons - adding one more title in Season 77 and two runner up finishes in Seasons 78 and 79, all of which against the La Salle.
In season 80, Bundit left Ateneo and the following year, the the Lady Eagles absorbed a heartbreaking defeat to the twice-to-beat FEU in the Final Four and he’s currently the head coach of Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League.
He also became an assistant coach to Gorayeb during the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, which was held in Singapore.
“I hope I (was able to) help improve Philippine volleyball,” he said.
But before he leave on December 14 to be with his family back in Thailand, Bundit added another feather on his cap with his second title in the PVL as Creamline swept Ateneo-Motolite in the best-of-three finals series on Saturday at Batangas City Sports Coliseum.
Despite his love-hate relationship with his wards, Bundit said that he will miss his players, who experienced his Spartan-like training regimen.
“I (will) miss my players because Philippine players are really good,” he said. “And in the Philippines (when I arrived for the) first time they love me and maybe I will be crying (when I leave).”
When asked if he’s still open on coming back to his second home, Bundit shared that he’ll definitely be back.
“I will visit here every year and if I have time I will visit here. If maybe everything in Thailand is good I will come back to coaching in the future,” he said.