MANILA, Philippines -- National University (NU) captain Risa Sato's comeback did not go as she had hoped as the Lady Bulldogs played just two games before the entire season was scrapped due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With Sato serving as their veteran leader, the Lady Bulldogs opened Season 82 with back-to-back wins. Their promising campaign was cut short, however: the UAAP decided to cancel the entire season after the enhanced community quarantine in the country was extended to April 30.
Like virtually all affected athletes, Sato was clearly saddened by the news. On Twitter, the Filipino-Japanese middle blocker said: "Sayonara UAAP Season 82."
She also left a loving message to her team, saying, "Champion pa rin (sa) puso ko (ang) NU."
Sato had hoped to lead the Lady Bulldogs back to the Final 4 this year, after missing Season 81 due to academic issues. She scored a combined 25 points in two games for her team, with NU beating University of Santo Tomas in five sets before sweeping Adamson University.
Far Eastern University's Celine Domingo asked Sato for "one more year," but the NU veteran was non-committal.
It remains to be seen if the UAAP will alter the eligibility rules in light of the cancellation of the season. As it stands, a player has to be under 25 years old by July 31 in order to qualify for that season. Sato turned 25 on October 4.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).