MANILA, Philippines -- After holding just seven sports in Season 84, the UAAP is back in full swing for its 85th season.
League organizers confirmed on Tuesday that the UAAP will hold a full slate of events for Season 85, which starts on October 1 with its men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
There will be 60 events in 21 sports in Season 85. It will be the UAAP's first complete campaign since Season 81, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. UAAP Season 82 was canceled in March 2020 with several second semester sports winding up unfinished, while Season 83 was not held.
The season's theme -- "Rise as One" -- reflects the UAAP's return to its full program, said UAAP president Fr. Aldrin Suan of host school Adamson University.
"It's not just about the UAAP, but rather it's about the articulations of the situation of the country sa ngayon," he explained during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. "Sana rin, 'yung UAAP, it will signal sa buong community sa Pilipinas na ito na 'yun -- we are going back to normal, and we are trying to recover."
More fans will be welcome to watch the games, with the patron section in venues set to be open to audiences. In Season 84, fans were barred from the lower sections of the MOA Arena.
"Fr. Aldrin and I are studying the option that the area behind the bench, especially that area, medyo restricted pa rin. Para we still minimize contact with the players. Kasi at the end of the day, ang health of the student-athlete is really paramount," UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag said.
"At least the fans can look forward already to some access to the patron area, pero iko-cordon off pa rin 'yun. No contact pa rin with the players," he added.
Even with the Philippines under Alert Level 1, the UAAP will still strictly follow public health standards and do weekly testing of its athletes, Saguisag also said.
Games will be held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. To accommodate a delayed start to the season as well as a break in November for the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, the UAAP will hold four games every Wednesday. There will be two men's basketball games on Saturdays and Sundays.
Opening the season is a showdown between hosts Adamson and the University of Santo Tomas, followed by a match-up between reigning champions University of the Philippines and De La Salle University.
After holding all of its basketball and volleyball games at the MOA Arena in Season 84, the UAAP will return to the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City for Season 85. They will also hold games at the PhilSports Complex and the Ynares Center in Antipolo.