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A Peek Into the Falcons’ Den

It’s five in the afternoon. The Adamson Lady Falcons are gathered in the SV Facade. Eyes closed, seated around the Jubilee statue of St. Vincent de Paul and Dr. George Lucas Adamson, the girls take steady breaths, one after another—in through the nose, out through the mouth, clearing their minds in deep meditation. Closely watching them is champion coach Tai Bundit, pacing around, mentally mapping out the drills he has in store for the girls. Calm, clear and focused, this is how the Lady Falcons have been preparing for UAAP Season 82.

Ever since Mozzy Ravena joined the Lady Falcons as team consultant, the girls gained a “tita” who, through her long experience with the sport, is quite familiar with the needs of growing athletes which stretches beyond the obvious—improving their skills, increasing their mental toughness and addressing their emotional needs.

Through careful consideration, tita Mochi, as the Lady Falcons would fondly call her (adapting coach Tai’s pronunciation of Mozzy’s name), suggested and requested to the Akari management to provide seemingly small things that make a huge difference in the long run. Among her first projects was a two-session image consultancy for the ladies with former PBA courtside reporter and certified image consultant, Miakka Lim.

“Kapag may kailangan kami – kay Tita Mochi,” sophomore Krich Macaslang described how approachable Mozzy has been as an active consultant to the team. It didn’t take long for them to create a bond, with Mozzy frequently visiting the Falcons’ den, finding out the needs of the young Falcons.

Through their open communication and cooperation with the Akari management, the Lady Falcons were supplied with essentials as well as some of their more specific needs. Provision for ice bath, massage gun, water heater and supplements have been given to the team, ensuring their physical development is taken care of beyond the skills used on the court.

“The food, bus, transportation, lahat ginagawa nila ng paraan,” said rookie Maveth Torres about how Akari management has been providing the needs of the team. “Wala kaming masabi, hindi sila nagkulang sa pagbigay ng support.”

In preparation for Season 82, the Lady Falcons flew to Bangkok, Thailand last January for a 12-day intensive training camp, all-expenses paid by their patron.

For the girls, their bond doesn’t stop when they leave the four corners of the court. As some have put it, “Kung sino kasama mo sa court, sila pa rin kasama sa bahay.” This includes coach Lerma Giron.

Described as a motivator and disciplinarian, coach Lerma encourages her players to push through the struggles of life and maintains discipline beyond the realm of sports. Mama Lerms, they lovingly call her, “She’s the mother na naghahandle sa’min.”

Allowing the team head coach live under the same roof as the players is something the Adamson management picked up from their other successful programs. Athletics Director Fr. Aldrin Suan explained, “Naririnig yung damdamin [ng players] eh. We’re moving away from the idea of players and coaches only mentoring skills. We’re going toward them being mentors in life. To address their emotional needs.”

Small quirks like knowing who of them likes to sleep with the lights open, who rises early and who snores the loudest all build toward creating a tight bond of sisterhood. This tight bond allows them to have open communication across the team, among management, among coaches and especially among players. With players free to express their feelings, negative issues can be resolved before they have a chance to affect their training or even their games.

When Tai Bundit, a coach famed for his life-changing training regimen, is handling your training, there’s no room for internal issues to hinder training. With the occasional joke to lighten their spirits, coach Tai is using his championship experience and strict demeanor to ensure that the Lady Falcons are ready for the coming UAAP tournament. Calm, clear and focused, with coaches that they trust, management that looks out for them and a community that supports them, the Lady Falcons endure the daily grind in hopes that they will soar victorious in the end.

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