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A season lost

Arellano reign extends another year as volleyball gets sideswiped

/ 05:30 AM March 20, 2020

Jojo Posadas is one of a few national team coaches who also handles athletes in the UAAP and NCAA, with these collegiate leagues providing him a steady flow of raw material for Team Philippines.

Posadas, married to 15-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Elma Muros, sees the athletes’ natural progression from school sports to the elite level.

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He has a hand when it comes to developing athletes and knows what he’s talking about.

So when the NCAA policy board on Thursday finally announced that it’s scrapping its heavily disrupted Season 95 due to the COVID-19 crisis, Posadas was one of those who hailed the decision.

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Arellano University’s Francisco Cayco, the policy board president of the NCAA this year, said the season, twice halted already, is terminated altogether after citing “safety of athletes, students, fans and officials.”Aside from the safety concerns, Posadas said canceling the season is much better because “our training program has already been disrupted.”

“We have an entire calendar with regard to training these athletes, so these cancellations throw us off,” Posadas said.

He trains student athletes for Jose Rizal University in the NCAA, and University of he Philippines in the UAAP.

The UAAP is still entertaining the possibility to push through with its 82nd season if the government decides not to extend its April 14 lockdown.

Not in peak form

“So after a month of laying off [due to COVID-19], you can’t expect these athletes to perform at their peak in two weeks’ time if they (UAAP) decide to resume.”

Posadas added: “We are not even allowed to jog around; there is no venue for that at all.”

His athletes, including those in the national team like Mark Harry Diones and Anfernee Lopena, are all back with their families observing community quarantine.

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Aside from track and field, volleyball—whose tournament was stopped at the edge of the Final Four—and cheerdance will no longer be played.

That means Arellano, the three-time defending champion, will see its volleyball reign stretched into another year, with the league expected to look at the eligibility of affected athletes, according to Cayco.

There will be a strong need to fine-tune eligibility, especially in the women’s volleyball tournament, where undefeated St. Benilde was mounting a challenge to Arellano’s reign. Several team standouts were supposed to have played out their eligibility this season.

Other cancellations

This marks just the third time that the NCAA was unable to complete a season.

The NCAA was not held during World War 2 and in 1963 due to alleged disagreement among member schools.

“This is an unforeseen circumstance,” said Peter Cayco, who as NCAA management committee head made the recommendation to the policy board. “Like a force of nature.”

The Inquirer had earlier reported that the NCAA was already planning to terminate its season but needed the approval of four more schools to do so.

Like a lot of sports leagues around the country, the NCAA ground to a halt following the quarantine imposed on Metro Manila—and later in Luzon—due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the special report by the Inquirer, the UAAP said it was still holding out hope that it could resume its season, but will have to change tournament formats to do so.

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TAGS: Jojo Posadas, NCAA, NCAA Season 95, Volleyball
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