THERE'S no doubt in former Ateneo coach Tai Bundit's mind who will prevail in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball finals.
"They'll be champions!" the Thai coach confidently said.
Ateneo did not disappoint its old coach, forcing a winner-take-all decider with a 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15 Game Two conquest over University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Maddie Madayag led the Lady Eagles with 17 points, Bea de Leon got 13, and Kat Tolentino had 11 in the victory that halted the team's four-game losing streak in the finals dating back to 2017.
More than the offensive resurgence, the Lady Eagles also rediscovered their defensive might, tallying eight blocks after hardly having any in a Game One loss.
Bundit, who was with ex-Ateneo team manager Tony Boy Liao, was elated to see the Lady Eagles get their old spunk back, one which he made a point to remind his former players before the crucial Game Two.
"I told the players to play happy. I told Ponggay (Gaston), (Jules) Samonte, Tolentino, Bea, and Maddie to play happy, you can win because you have faith," he said.
Bundit now hopes that the same Ateneo squad show up with the stakes this high come Game Three on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
"If they play like they did today, they'll be champions," he said.