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Behind the scenes

While in limbo, PH leagues planning for possibility of immediate return

philippine sports coronavirus

In the event it is allowed to continue, the UAAP could use a Fiba-style format for its volleyball tournament. —INQUIRER PHOTO/TRISTAN TAMAYO

(Third of a series)

Bracing for impact isn’t the only thing leagues are doing while on a standstill forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re looking for ways to mitigate the situation or, at the very least, make things less stressful for their athletes.

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The Philippine Superliga is already looking at sending home imports while the UAAP is optimistic in can cobble an acceptable format for when the league is allowed to continue with its popular volleyball tournament.

UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag told the Inquirer that the UAAP would come up with an “alternative format” to salvage the volleyball tournament, one of three money-making events of the league.

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“Maybe we can do a Fiba-style format or maybe a single-round eliminations, definitely the double-round is out of the question,” Saguisag said.

The PBA, meanwhile, announced that there would be no pay cuts for players despite the suspension of games brought about by the quarantine.

“They will continue to get paid,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer, adding that the league was also looking out for its staff. The league will be operating on a skeleton force with essential personnel expected to be “on-call.”“We will follow the directive of the government and how they assess the situation,” Marcial said.

While all those measures are dependent on how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out in the country—Saguisag said that if the quarantine was extended beyond April 15, the UAAP season is good as terminated—it is clear that the leagues are not staying idle during the current standstill.

“We’re trying to come up with ways to make sure we can save as much of the season as we can,” said Marcial, who is looking to schedule and reschedule out-of-town matches or extending the season calendar.

Like Marcial had earlier told the Inquirer, Saguisag said the most important thing right now was to help the country overcome the current pandemic.

“Look, we are all saddened by this, but we are just a small part of the whole thing that’s happening,” he said. “This is no longer a sporting issue but a public health issue with global implications.” INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak, Philippine sports, Sports, Volleyball
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