Playing in bubble is UAAP option

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    WILL the UAAP consider holding its 83rd season in a bubble next year?

    One coach of a men’s basketball team told Malaya-Business Insight that is possible.

    “That’s what I’m hearing, the plan of the league is to hold the season in a bubble. Iyon lang naman ang nadidinig ko. I don’t know,” the coach, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. He did not elaborate.

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    The Commission on Higher Education last Monday released the guidelines for the resumption of collegiate team practice but it will be limited to workouts and physical conditioning.

    Actual games need a greenlight from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    Games and Amusements Board chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra yesterday said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast that collegiate league teams were allowed to resume training due to concerns they will not be in shape and to avoid a similar incident that happened to University of Santo Tomas last August.

    Former Growling Tigers coach Aldin Ayo allegedly breached the government’s stringent COVID-19 health protocols when he brought the team practice to his hometown in Capuy, Sorsogon City from mid-June to August.

    “Ang backgrounder diyan, lugi naman kami (collegiate athletes). Bakit iyong mga professionals ay puwedeng mag-practice, baka mamaya magbabaan kami at biglang mawala sa kundisyon, sana payagan naman kami,” Mitra said.

    “And sana wala na munang tago-tago, ‘di ba? Imbes na magtago-tago, payagan mo na, wala namang problema basta mag-iingat lang.”

    If teams adhere to the guidelines, it is likely that tournaments will follow soon, according to CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera III.

    “It’s the same with pro sports. It will be very easy to convince the IATF groups doing the practices if they can do a very good job protecting the athletes,” De Vera said last Monday during an online press conference.

    “If we can show this, I don’t see any major obstacle why the IATF won’t approve tournaments.”

    Saguisag said last June in the PSA Forum webcast that holding a bubble season is unlikely.

    “I cannot speak for the Board yet, pero ito malabo if you copy the NBA model sa bubble city,” said Saguisag.

    “The UAAP is an inter-collegiate league. Iyong mga estudyante, i-ho-hotel mo for two months, four months even at babayaran namin lahat? And then every day, swab testing and rapid testing? So, baka hindi viable. Imagine these students being housed in whatever facility, and I don’t even know if we have that facility, or hotels around that facility, nor do we have the expenses. Parang hindi sustainable and not viable.”