MANILA, Philippines -- The UAAP is continuously working on the protocols that it plans to implement for its 84th season, which is tentatively scheduled for February 2022.
According to UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag, they have consulted with several agencies in crafting the protocols, including the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the Games and Amusements Board.
"We [also] continue to consult with the experts who have actually done it," said Saguisag during an appearance on "Power and Play" recently. "So we talked to the representatives ng SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas), pati sa PBA."
Saguisag explained that the best course of action for the UAAP is to hold the season in a "bubble" environment, similar to what the PBA did in the 2020 Philippine Cup and the SBP when it hosted the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers. Both events were held in Clark, Pampanga.
"'Yung sa bubble, 'yun talaga ang tinitingnan natin," he said. "It's either you have a bubble or you don't, eh. So, kaya tingin namin, talagang dapat, bubble."
"Mas nako-control talaga namin 'yung sports bubble," Saguisag noted. "I would even argue that keeping the student-athletes in these sports bubbles could actually be safer. It could actually be for their better interests, rather than nandoon sila sa kani-kanilang probinsiya, na hindi natin alam papaano sila nagpa-practice sa kanilang protocols."
In a separate appearance on "The Game," Saguisag said they still have to get the approval of relevant government agencies but this is something that they are working on.
"We're working on all the protocols to make sure that each and every student-athlete's safety and health is ensured," he assured.
With the caveat that their plans are dependent on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Saguisag revealed that they are targeting a February 2022 opening. There is no certainty that they can hold a complete season with all UAAP events, and having fans in attendance is unlikely.
Still, it's a positive development for the league after it was forced to cancel the second semester sports of UAAP Season 82 and scratch Season 83 entirely due to the pandemic.
"We're really looking at mga around February 2022. Nagdi-disclaimer lang ako kasi, the conditions deteriorate, we might have to adjust again depending on the situation. Pero para meron kayong idea, it's really some time [in] February 2022," Saguisag said.