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    UAAP men's hoops still in bubble; closed circuit eyed for women's volley

    Apr 23, 2022
    Ateneo vs La Salle crowd at MOA Arena
    PHOTO: UAAP Season 84 media team

    BUBBLES will have to remain as is as far as the UAAP men's basketball tournament is concerned as the league continues to err on the side of caution even after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) eased up on its restrictions for collegiate sports.

    UAAP on bubble setup

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag spoke on Saturday and reiterated that the Board of Trustees has committed to maintaining a bubble for the ongoing competitions.

    "The managing directors and the presidents of the league has committed to maintaining the bubble at least for the basketball tournament. Tatapusin namin ito ng maayos," he said during a media briefing at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    "We have committed, may minimum public health standards pero the UAAP has taken a higher standard when it comes to the health and safety not only of the student-athletes but everyone else concerned. To be honest, magastos, sakit sa ulo, but we'd rather do this, we have to pay the high cost to make sure that everything is ok. Yun ang decision ng hosts."

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    There's a chance, though, that guidelines will be eased for the women's volleyball tournament which is slated to start on May 5.

    "We may consider actually going to a closed circuit setup going into the volleyball tournament," said UAAP president Nonong Calanog of hosts La Salle.

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    "Now that we more or less have a hand of organizing a tournament with these particular protocols, we can actually see or project if we can run a tournament safely now within a close circuit setup."

    That, though, will still depend on the meeting between the Board of Managing Directors (BMD) as they are expected to make a decision by next week.

    "That is something for the Board to decide, hopefully by next week. As you know, we'll be starting the volleyball tournament by May 5. That's something we may have to decide by next week so that teams will be ready to adjust whatever the mode will be," he said.

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    CHED chairman Prospero de Vera paid the UAAP a visit and expressed his delight with how the turnout has been as the league made its successful resumption after two years on the freezer.

    "I'm very happy to see that our student-athletes after two years are able to compete again. Happier still that alumni and spectators are able to watch," he said. "Two years is a very long time, but finally, were able to do a very good competition. I'm very confident UAAP is doing a very good job and the fact that there have been no infections during the tournament is testament to the fact that the guidelines have been made in accordance with the stakeholders."

    De Vera said that the CHED is leaving it up to the UAAP if it will choose to abandon the bubble setup in favor of a new system given that Metro Manila continues to be placed under Alert Level I.

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    "That is a decision that the UAAP will have to make," he stated.

    "When the guidelines are made, we're still at Alert Level II. That's why the concept of bubble was the system that was in place. We're now under Alert Level I. You can dispense the bubble and put other systems in place for the safety of the athletes. I leave that to the UAAP to decide, but’s good that the UAAP has decided there is technically 100-percent audience."


      Still, de Vera reiterated that what's important is how collegiate leagues can weather the worst case scenarios in the event that there would be another surge of new cases.

      "The challenge is not so much de-escalating but escalating if a surge actually happens," he said. "We're crossing our fingers that there won't be any surge and I think a test for the guidelines of the system is if a surge happens, how fast can we adjust to different stages. Maganda nga na nakapag-practice ang UAAP ng pababa [ang cases], makapag-practice din ng pataas. We have to COVID-proof our tournaments so that whatever happens, if a surge happens, then we can easily adjust."

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      PHOTO: UAAP Season 84 media team
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