UAAP scraps Season 83; NCAA keeps faith
Bo Perasol and the University of the Philippines (UP) Maroons had a lot to look forward to in the coming UAAP season. The team had loads of recruits for the tournament’s 83rd season and had also stockpiled on talents for the future.
Perasol will have to wait to see how his team would have panned out, though. The UAAP decided to cancel its 83rd season due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have no doubt that they only have the best interest and safety of everyone in mind when they made this decision,” said Perasol, who was looking forward to field the likes of Gilas Pilipinas youth standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano of juniors powerhouse National University and RC Calimag of La Salle Greenhills. UP was also supposed to showcase promising Filipino-Australian Ethan Kirkness next season.
NCAA is a go
As this developed, a reliable source told the Inquirer that the NCAA was looking to resume competitions next year, targeting June 12, 2021, as its opening date with games possibly to be played in a bubble.
According to the source, the NCAA management committee has been meeting regularly once a week and even held a webinar last month to prepare member schools for a possible 2021 resumption of varsity action. The management committee has been studying various sports bubbles to come up with its own contained environment were student-athletes can compete safely.
The NCAA is looking to play basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming and online chess in its coming season.
In a statement released on Friday, the UAAP said health concerns forced the hand of the league to cancel its next season.
“After a series of discussions, the UAAP Board of Trustees came to this difficult decision, putting major consideration on the health and safety of the student-athletes and those involved in the operations of our competitions,” part of the statement read.
Up next for the league is to come up with guidelines covering the cancellation, especially with regards to the eligibility of student-athletes.
“In due time, I’m sure, we will all need some clarity on the rules which are going to be amended and those which are going to stay,” Perasol said.
UP for instance, was supposed to have talented red-shirts for Season 83 who would be eligible for Season 84, including former University of Santo Tomas (UST) skipper CJ Cansino. Ateneo, meanwhile, was supposed to sit out former National U star Dave Ildefonso in the coming season. How the cancellation would affect their residency statuses is something the board will need to clarify, as well as the eligibility of seniors carrying over from Season 82.
Sad, but understandable
“Both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Managing Directors will further discuss the implications of the cancellation for the guidance of the member-schools and student-athletes,” the UAAP statement read.
UST superstar Eya Laure said she was saddened by the decision of the UAAP, but understood the reason behind it.
“Of course I was sad because I was really looking forward to 2021,” Laure said in a message to the Inquirer. “I was preparing myself physically and mentally for the next season.”
“But I respect the decision of the board because I know they are thinking of our safety,” Laure added.
The UST junior said she was already looking forward to training with her teammates as soon as health protocols allowed.
Also in question right now is the television contract the UAAP inked with new broadcast partner TV5.
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