The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) is keeping its options open — including the adoption of a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games-style tournament format — when it stages its Season 83.
UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag yesterday admitted that they have yet to come up with a definite format, but they are open to anything, especially now that they are facing the challenges brought by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Saguisag said among those they are looking at is the adoption of a SEA Games-style format where all events would be played in just two weeks at a specific sports complex.
They are also strongly mulling the possibility of reducing the calendar of events, but retaining only those that were not finished in the previous season like volleyball, football, athletics, baseball, softball and 3×3 basketball.
There were also suggestions of extending the playing years of athletes who were supposed to graduate in Season 82 like volleyball players Aduke Ogunsanya of De La Salle University, Risa Sato of National University, Isa Molde and Tots Carlos of University of the Philippines and Kat Tolentino of Ateneo de Manila University.
The youthful UAAP chief stressed that they are looking at starting the season around January — or when the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) starts to relax its guidelines on contact sports and mass gatherings.
So far, the IATF only allows individual and non-contact sports and activities like running, jogging, walking, cycling, equestrian, swimming, tennis, golf and skateboarding while prominent UAAP events like basketball, volleyball, taekwondo, football, baseball, judo and cheerdance are not yet included in its list.
“Our treatment here is everything is on the table. All options are open,” Saguisag said in a telephone conversation with Daily Tribune.
“Of course, we want all events to be included, but we are also preparing for the worst. We are trying to formulate what’s best for everybody.”
The league formally canceled the remainder of Season 82 last April after the IATF extended the enhanced community quarantine.
UAAP president Emmanuel Fernandez of Ateneo de Manila University said they would come up with a proper closing ceremony in which athletes who shone bright the previous season would be given fitting recognition.
They would also award Athletes of the Year and the overall champion in a simple closing rite that would be done online and would be aired around August so it won’t have a conflict with the calendar of Season 83.
Still, the fate of Season 83 hangs in balance as the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) have yet to issue clear directives and guidelines for the next school year.
DepEd had set 24 August as the opening of school year 2020-2021 for basic education while CHEd announced that colleges and universities under general community quarantine areas could operate classes not earlier than 1 September.
But with classes mostly being done online, it would be doubtful for student-athletes to train and compete.
Saguisag admitted that the opening of Season 83 is littered with roadblocks.
“Taking those dates into consideration, I think we can’t open the season immediately,” he said, adding that the UAAP board will convene next month to further discuss the future of the league.
“There’s a very big likelihood that we move the opening to a later date.”
He added that although they are juggling a lot of balls, they are leaving no stone unturned in staging Season 83.
“We’re talking about practicality and we also have to consider the time,” Saguisag said.
“We have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C and so on. We’re ready for anything.”