UAAP targeting to start Season 83 in April 2021

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 22 2020 02:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- If everything falls into place, the UAAP may start competitions in its 83rd season by April 2021, according to Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag.

Saguisag, in an appearance on "Power and Play" with former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala, said that holding events in 2020 is virtually impossible, but the league is studying its options for 2021.

The UAAP was forced to cancel its second semester sports in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new season was supposed to start in September but the global health crisis that spawned quarantine protocols in the country prevented the league from following its traditional schedule.

With the caveat that the UAAP Board of Trustees still has to pass a resolution, Saguisag said they are hoping that the new season can start in April.

"Again, this is not an official UAAP position," he said, "But we are probably looking at, if ma-approve ang training, hopefully we can start training by mid-January, after the Christmas break."

"And tamang-tama, sabi ng coaches they need mga two to three months to prepare. So after Easter Sunday naman, I think that's April 4, or 5, hopefully if all goes well, we may be looking at starting the season by April," he added.

A full season may not be possible, however. Saguisag also notes that they are looking at holding a few selected sports "in a bubble scenario." Among the sports being considered are their "flagship events," women's volleyball and men's basketball.

"'Yun po ang mga pinag-aaralan. Hindi pa sinasabing tuloy, pero pinapag-aralan," Saguisag stressed. 

With the early cancellation of Season 82, the men's and women's volleyball tournaments, and the men's football tournament were not finished. 

The women's football tournament, baseball, softball, athletics, lawn tennis, and 3x3 basketball had all yet to start when the season was officially terminated last April 7.

The UAAP, like all collegiate leagues, is still waiting for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to approve the implementing rules and regulations of student-athletes' return to training. According to Saguisag, who worked on the guidelines as part of the Technical Working Group put together by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the protocols are being fine-tuned for the IATF's final approval.

"'Yung face to face training, eh wala pa. So until the IATF finally clears the return of face to face training, wala pa po. As we speak, wala pa, hindi pa pwede," he said.

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