Host UE eyes UAAP Season 86 opening in September after Fiba World Cup
MANILA, Philippines—The University of the East is seeking to start Season 86, which will have a theme of “Fueling the Future,” in September after the country’s hosting of the Fiba World Cup 2023.
Adamson University on Saturday turned over the hosting rights to UE for next season during the Season 85 closing ceremonies at Mall of Asia Arena.
UE president Zosimo Battad, who will be the chairman of Season 86, admitted it will be tough hosting the UAAP but with the experience of his athletic director Rod Roque and with the help of the member schools, they are confident that they can pull it off.
“We have 85 years of UAAP tradition to live up to. We have a very experienced sports director on my side Professor Rod Roque. He’s the most experienced sports director in all of UAAP,” Battad said. “I know we can do it and we are confident with the support of everyone. With their support, we’ll be able to host Season 86 of the UAAP.”
Roque, who will be the Season 86 president, said they are looking to start the new season on September 30 or earlier.
“We moved it to September 30 because of the Fiba (World Cup). But then again Fiba will be finished by September 10 so we’re thinking of moving it a bit earlier but it depends on the availability of the venue. But we, as much as possible would like to move it a little earlier than September 30 which also coincides with the 77th founding anniversary of UE,” Roque said.
UE pulled off a successful hosting in Season 77 during the 2014-15 athletic year. Roque said their school is not feeling any pressure with their good working relationship with the seven other schools.
“My first time was in Season 77 and with the help of seven other member universities, it was a breeze. So with the help of seven other member schools, it will be easy,” he said “Actually, the hardest part in the UAAP is the opening ceremony. Because of the show and the theme then you have to practice with many number of participants.”
“With president Battad at the helm, he created a committee within the university to handle all… There are two committees that he created, the overall hosting which I chair and then the opening and closing committee,” he added.
When asked about the possible innovations for Season 86, Roque said they are seeking to add new sporting events but didn’t disclose the specific sport as they will have to sit down with the board first to discuss the matter.
“We’re having talks about the inclusions of additional sporting events. Then again, it’s still raw and we’re still in the process of talking. So we have to iron out first the rules and regulations and everything before we bring it out to the media. (a minimum of five teams for a sport to be played),” Roque said. “And there are other sporting events that are coming in for UAAP but we have to make a decision for those. We will announce in the future what are those sporting events.”
One thing that is certain for UE is implementing health and safety protocols for COVID-19 to ensure the safety of the athletes and fans.
“Of course, we will consider. Especially, DOH is reporting that there are a lot of cases. It’s not as deadly as before when the pandemic started but then of course better safe than sorry,” Roque said.
Besides a successful hosting, Battad is also hoping the UE will reach the Final Four in the men’s and women’s divisions of basketball and volleyball while seeking to maintain their dominance in fencing and judo.
“We will try to make it to the Final Four in men’s basketball and women’s and men’s volleyball. With a very experienced coach in Ai Lebornio, I think we hope to do well in women’s basketball as well,” Battad said.
“Fencing and judo are our strengths, and we will continue to excel in those areas. In tennis, we lost to Ateneo in the Final Four this year, but apart from one player, the rest of the team remains intact, so we will try our very best to capture the men’s tennis title again this time.”