THAI Anusorn “Tai” Bundit bade goodbye to the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles after five amazing seasons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
Bundit’s contract with Ateneo ended last Saturday when the Lady Eagles lost to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in the Final Four.
It marked the first time in seven years that Ateneo will be missing the finals.
“Yes [this is my last game]. Because end of contract,” said Bundit after Ateneo absorbed a 20-25, 21-25, 25-14, 19-25 beating at the hands of FEU, which brandished a twice-to-beat advantage in their Final Four showdown.
“I’m happy,” Bundit added. “I can go meet my family home.”
Bundit goes home to Thailand today but will come back in May to coach the Creamline Cool Smashers in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
Besides Bundit, the man behind Ateneo’s “happy, heart strong” mantra, also playing her swan song was ace spiker Jho Maraguinot, who this early opted not to play her last season of eligibility.
Bea de Leon and skipper Maddie Madayag, meanwhile, said they are uncertain if they will return in Season 81.
“I’m graduating. I have one more, but I think I’m done,” said Maraguinot, who had 11 points in leading Ateneo in her last match.
Bundit, who steered Ateneo to the crown in Seasons 76 and 77 and booked two runner-up finishes the following years, remained proud of his wards despite missing the Finals.
“Ateneo did really good already. We have a tough team. We have a new setter, we have a new libero. Ateneo worked hard, we can go Final Four. ‘Very good for me already,” he said.
Bundit had a controversial preseason—that almost cost him his job—when several players complained about his Spartan style of training the team.