Scrubbing of Season 83 could gut Lady Eagles’ roster, says coach
Ateneo women’s volleyball coach Oliver Almadro bared that his players went through the five stages of grief when UAAP Season 82 was scrapped last March.
Now that even Season 83 was canceled still due to coronavirus pandemic, Almadro, who is a sharp game tactician as he is as a team motivator, said he’s afraid they’d go through the same cycle once again.
“All the stages; first we were in denial,” said the mentor of the Season 81 champions. Season 82 was only four-playing-days-old when imposed lockdowns led to the end of UAAP competitions.
“Until we arrived at acceptance and learned to move forward,” he added.
Training and meeting regularly via online since the quarantine began, Almadro said they are already doing well adapting with the unique situation.
“We already have a new timeline for training and for possible return,” said Almadro. “We thought that by January we could already train on-court and by March compete in a bubble competition.”
That’s until he heard the news from his top gunner Juls Samonte: The league is throwing out the season that was initially planned to feature just basketball and volleyball.
“We were caught by surprise, and generally felt bad,” he said.
Especially because several key players or what he termed as “super seniors,” are not sure to return for Season 84.
Samonte, Ponggay Gaston, Deanna Wong and Kat Tolentino are either in their fourth or fifth year in the university and may opt to play in club leagues or pursue other interests.
“These students have dreams of their own; my only prayer is they make a discernment,” said Almadro. “Whatever they decision they make we will respect it.”
He said it’s going to be a challenge for him as a coach to form a formidable team once the arenas open again for the sport.
“We have no Team B, and these developments affected our recruitment program,” Almadro said. “It’s up to me to reorganize, reset the future of the team.”
Meanwhile, the NCAA and the National Athletic Association of Schools College and Universities (Naascu) are soldiering on with their respective seasons.
The NCAA management committee confirmed an Inquirer report quoting reliable sources that the league’s Season 96 will push through, starting with online sports in the first quarter of 2021.
“If and when we get a go signal from the IATF (interagency task force), then we will resume actual games in a bubble setup,” said Arellano University vice president Peter Cayco.
A highly placed source told the Inquirer the NCAA has been in a series of meetings and webinars with an aim of opening competitions inside a bubble in June next year.
The country’s first collegiate league will stage track and field, swimming, basketball and volleyball for its comeback season which, will be hosted by Letran.
For its 20th season, Naascu will stage online events as early as February, six months earlier than its usual season start.
League president Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem of St. Clare and vice president Rodilo Legaspi of New Era University said they will stage online events in karate (kata), taekwondo (poomsae) and e-games.
Adalem said they are thinking of staging some track and field events on “time trial.”
“Sometimes, we need to be more creative,” Adalem said.