MANILA, Philippines -- Organizers of the UAAP are gaining confidence that they can hold the much-delayed Season 84 within the next year.
The UAAP had to cancel the second semester sports of Season 82 in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and decided not to hold the entirety of Season 83 as the country continued to deal with the health crisis.
Atty. Rebo Saguisag, the league's executive director, recently expressed optimism that Season 84 can push through "sometime next year."
"Right now, (there's) the view that the student-athlete really has a special role in society, that they can probably give the nation something to rally around," Saguisag said in a recent episode of "UAAP Talk."
"The UAAP has a moral obligation to fulfill this need… You also look at (champion golfer) Yuka Saso. These are young people na talagang nae-excite ang tao. It gives the nation something to be excited about, to inspire us, to give us something positive," he added.
"'Yan ang mga antecedents that has changed since. That's why we're more confident na dapat, rather, ituloy na ang Season 84."
According to Saguisag, they had already crafted protocols for teams' return to training in January, in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine Sports Commission, the Department of Health, and the Games and Amusements Board.
Those plans had to be shelved, however, as the government put NCR Plus under enhanced community quarantine once more due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Those protocols are likely to be used when the UAAP gets the green light from the government to return, and the league is also mulling a "vaccine requirement," said Saguisag.
As for the format of the season, Saguisag says they would want to hold all events.
"But kung talagang magiging compressed 'yung schedule… This is not to say naman na may pinapaboran kaming sports, but let's be realistic," he said. "Again, in an ideal world, we want everything to happen. We're planning for that."
But if it's not possible to hold all sports, there are certain events that the UAAP wants to push through with.
"Kung talagang magkakagipitan, we have different scenarios," said Saguisag.
"At the very least, certain events must push through. We're looking at, again, men's basketball, women's volleyball, cheerdance, and the opening ceremonies," he added.
"We're not saying na 'yun lang ang gagawin, but kailangan at the very least, ito sana, ma-conduct namin 'to."
Sporting events are making a steady comeback after virtually all events were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Professional leagues are already taking place, while the NCAA decided to push through with its 96th season in a virtual format.