Coach Tai Bundit visits Creamline-PH during training in Thailand
MANILA, Philippines — Coach Tai Bundit visited the Philippine women’s volleyball team, composed of his former players from Creamline, ahead of the team’s participation in the Asean Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand.
The ex-Cool Smashers head coach on Thursday reunited with his players, led by Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Tots Carlos, and Jia De Guzman, during their practice for their upcoming three-day regional tournament.
The Philippines opens its campaign on Friday against two-time tournament champion Thailand at 7 p.m. (Manila time).
Bundit delivered Creamline’s first three Premier Volleyball League titles. He last called the shots for the Cool Smashers in the 2021 Open Conference Ilocos Norte bubble, where they settled for a runner-up finish after losing to Chery Tiggo in Finals Game 3.
He also resigned from the national team as an assistant coach last year.
Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses, who steered the franchise to back-to-back championships this 2022 season, attributed their success to Bundit for remaining in touch with their team and still using his system in the PVL.
ALYSSA JOINS TRAINING
Valdez, on the other hand, joined the national team’s practice even though she won’t be playing in the Grand Prix as she is still regaining her top shape after contracting dengue, which caused her absence from the AVC Cup for Women two weeks ago.
“I’m feeling so much better now. I’m on the road to full recovery already. I came here in Thailand to be with the team so I can start practicing with them and really cheer for them here in the Asean Grand Prix,” Valdez told SMM Volleyball in a video interview.
The Philippines is fielding the line-up, led by Carlos, Galanza, De Guzman, Michele Gumabao, Jeanette Panaga, Ced Domingo, and libero Kyla Atienza, who gave a good account of themselves with a sixth place finish in the AVC Cup despite missing Valdez and having short notice in carrying the flag.
Risa Sato is also returning to action after missing the continental tournament due to health and safety protocols.
The Cool Smashers will try to duplicate or surpass the national team’s back-to-back bronze medals in the first two legs of the Asean Grand Prix in 2019 in Nakhon Ratchasima and Santa Rosa Laguna, where De Guzman both played.
The Filipinos battle Vietnam on Saturday at 4 p.m. (Manila time) before wrapping up their campaign on Sunday against Indonesia also at 4 p.m. The team with the best record will rule the tournament.