MANILA - UAAP stakeholders believe that the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic will affect the hosting of Season 83, after it already forced the cancellation of the rest of Season 82.
Season 82 was officially canceled on April 7, after the Philippine government extended the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag explained on 2OT that they had to end Season 82 by May 31, so that it would not affect the holding of Season 83.
"By canceling Season 82, the Board felt that it gives more wiggle room for Season 83," he said. "Rather than, dalawang missed season. Pinilit mo 'yung Season 82, apektado pa 'yung Season 83."
"So, sabi namin, we'd rather lose the battle in order to win the war," he added.
Given the current situation regarding COVID-19 in the Philippines, Saguisag admits that Season 83 will still be affected by the pandemic. As it stands, sports events are still considered among the mass gatherings barred under the guidelines of the General Community Quarantine, and gyms and fitness facilities are still not allowed to open as well.
Saguisag noted that if the UAAP is to open in September, then teams will have to be in training by July.
"We know, medyo long shot ata 'yan," he admits.
"So, we're actually open to the idea na maybe, baka January mag-start," he revealed. "We're already building different scenarios. Baka hindi lahat ng events, ma-accommodate for next season. So we really do not know."
Further complicating the situation is that the universities themselves have yet to make a definite decision on how they will go about the next academic year.
"Kung ang classes mo mismo, physical classes, masu-suspend, much more siguro ang sporting events," said Saguisag. "High risk, and there are very grave consequences na we have to consider. Mahirap isugal."
Another issue that cropped up was that of eligibility. Most athletes playing second semester sports such as volleyball and football only saw action in a couple of games; some didn't even get to play as the UAAP was canceled before their event could start.
Saguisag said the league is open to extending the eligibility of the second semester athletes, but again, there are several issues that they have to consider.
"It makes sense naman," he said. "It makes sense, if one or two games, or worse 'yung events na hindi natuloy, like baseball, bakit mo naman ika-count 'yan as a playing year, kung hindi naman natuloy."
"The bigger question, and I think the bigger issue that should be answered is what happens to the age requirement," he added. "And yan ang hindi pa namin masasagot as we speak. 'Yan ang medyo thorny issue or more interesting question."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).