Score to settle for La Salle's ace mentor

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 11 2014 02:47 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2014 10:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines - La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus seeks to outduel Ateneo’s Thai coach Anusorn Bundit as the Lady Spikers gun for the clincher against the Lady Eagles in tomorrow’s UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball match at the Mall of Asia Arena.

De Jesus is facing a familiar opponent on the opposite side of the bench in this widely-followed finale, having previously called the shots for the Philippine team back in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games against the Thai squad which had Bundit as part of the coaching staff.

The Thais got the better of De Jesus’ wards that time at West Negros College in Bacolod City, 25-19, 25-11, 25-12, in the process frustrating the host’s bid to advance to the gold medal match. Phl thus settled for the bronze while Thailand went on to capture the mint over Vietnam.

“Hindi na siya bagong coach. Isa siya sa coaching staff ng National team nila, nagkaharap kami nung 2005 dito sa SEA Games. Mahusay siyang coach (He’s not a new coach. He was part of Thailand’s coaching staff and we faced off in the 2005 SEA Games here. He’s a good coach),” said De Jesus.

So a triumph against the Bundit-coached Lady Eagles would somehow avenge that setback at the international level seven years back.

De Jesus and the Lady Spikers got on the threshold of a rare four-peat and ninth overall crown after dismantling upset-conscious Lady Eagles, 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24 last Saturday.

For De Jesus, the presence of Bundit, who has expertly transformed the Lady Eagles from a scrappy young team into a serious contender, makes this campaign not only different but more challenging.

“Hindi local ang coach nila so talagang kailangang sabayan ko din kung anong strategy ang ginagawa nila (They have a foreign coach so I really need to adjust to whatever strategy he’s making),” said the multi-titled DLSU coach.

Bundit, who has made his Lady Eagles crew embrace the mantra “Heart Strong” and “Play Happy,” managed to stain DLSU’s perfect record in 30 games spread over the last two years with a 17-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-20 upset last Wednesday.