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Feeling the heat

Bea Micaller

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JIELO Razon and the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta are feeling the economic pinch caused by the novel coronavirus. PHOTOGRAPH BY FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE RIO DELUVIO @tribunephl_rio

Things are starting to get messy in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic is starting to creep in among its member teams.

University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, Lyceum of the Philippines University and Arellano University are the latest teams to feel the economic pinch following the long lockdown in Metro Manila that obviously affected their respective cash flows and varsity programs in Season 96.

Perpetual women’s volleyball coach Macky Cariño admitted that their athletic program was already frozen with their salaries reduced by as much as 80 percent.

Cariño, who assisted seasoned coach Sammy Acaylar during the Altas’ three-peat run from 2012 to 2014, said he was initially told that he would remain employed together with coaches of other mandatory sports like basketball, athletics and swimming.

But he was surprised when the management told them that all varsity teams would be frozen from June 2020 until January 2021, leaving coaches, officials and other personnel with no choice but to lose their monthly salaries.

“In our case in Perpetual, so far, we don’t have sports teams and our program had been frozen,” Cariño, an FIVB Level II coach who also has experience calling the shots in the Philippine Superliga and other international tournaments, said in a telephone conversation.

“Their plan is to retain mandatory sports like basketball, volleyball, swimming and athletics. They informed us that the coaches of mandatory sports are safe, but we have to wait for six months before they could reopen their athletic program.”

Cariño added that for the past three months, they are getting only 20 percent of their monthly salaries without any advise from school officials.

“The school officials told us — coaches of mandatory sports — that we will be back to our positions in January next year,” said Cariño, who steered College of Saint Benilde to the crown in 2016.
“I think this is unfair because coaching is our bread and butter. Some of us have no other source of income aside from coaching.”

Daily Tribune tried, but school director Dr. Alfonso Loreto couldn’t be reached for comment.

Aside from Perpetual, Lyceum and Arellano are also downsizing.

An unimpeachable source said the Pirates are seriously mulling the possibility of skipping the season after their cash flow was hampered by the long lockdown brought by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Speaking on condition of anonymity pending the formal filing of Lyceum’s leave of absence, the source said the school could no longer afford to maintain teams in mandatory sports, especially in basketball and volleyball, due to financial constraints.

“The school verbally informed the NCAA management committee that it is having a hard time competing in four mandatory events,” the source said.

“We can’t really force them to join. But they have to make it formal. They have to file a leave of absence so that they can return when the situation gets better.”

Arellano, for its part, admitted that it is now preparing to withdraw from other events.

“We are also feeling the economic pinch so we have to downscale our varsity program,” Arellano executive Peter Cayco, who is also the vice president of Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc., said.

“Nothing is final. We still have to meet in the next few days, but we are already looking at joining only seven events.”

Letran College was the first team to downscale its athletic program with no less than Rector Fr. Clarence Marquez admitting that the current economic situation forced them to reduce the allowance of student-athletes by 25 percent while those staying in school dormitories would be encouraged to go to their respective houses as part of their belt-tightening measures.

The Knights are also looking to withdraw from athletics, volleyball, beach volleyball, football, taekwondo and swimming due to their poor finish last season.

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