AS Ateneo prepares to meet La Salle in the UAAP women's volleyball finals for the fifth successive year, Lady Eagles coach Tai BUndit said he's happy with what he's seeing from their arch-rivals these days.
“I am happy because I saw La Salle team dancing,” he told a handful of sportswriters on Thursday night at the end of team practice at Blue Eagle gym.
“La Salle follows Ateneo, La Salle follows me because La Salle is dancing,” added Bundit, referring to the Lady Spikers dancing and singing in one corner of the MOA Arena before their do-or-die semifinal match against the Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday.
When asked about his thoughts on the much-anticipated Finals faceoff, Bundit turned serious, saying he believes that if the Lady Eagles can take Game One on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, they can finish the Lady Spikers off in Game Two.
“(If we win) Game One, I believe Game Two we can win,” he said.
Ateneo and La Salle split their season series in the elims. The Lady Spikers drew first blood in a straight sets, 25-22, 25-14, 25-18, on February 27, while the Lady Eagles got their revenge in a thrilling five-setter, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 15-5, on April 10.
The championship count in the past four seasons is also tied. La Salle won in Seasons 74 and 75, while Ateneo took Seasons 76 and 77.
The Lady Eagles took a tough path to the championship in Season 76 as they had to erase a thrice-to-win disadvantage against La Salle. It was easier the following year as they swept the Ara Galang-less Lady Spikers.
La Salle paraded a complete lineup with Galang back at the front after recovering from a knee injury. But with or without Galang, Bundit has complete faith in his team.
“First round and second round (of Season 78) there is Galang, we can win (but) not easy. Every team, even Ateneo, can win or lose. But I believe Ateneo can win if players train, [they] will be better on the day (of the finals),” he said.
“La Salle is a better team, I’m thinking La Salle wants to win. But Ateneo doesn’t [just] want to win, Ateneo believes it will win,” Bundit added.