‘UAAP has time to make learned, rational decisions’

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    WITH an early next year opening among the options the UAAP is mulling, University of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol is convinced anything can still happen.

    “Everything is in limbo as of now, in my opinion. It (early next year opening among the options) will not be that case in a month or so as everyone tries to incorporate in the ‘New Normal.’ We can make better decisions as we adapt to this reality,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “Making a declaration (an option) that the season can start in the first quarter of next year will buy the UAAP board time to make learned and rational decisions,” he added.

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag bared last June 4 that among the options the league is considering is to launch Season 83 in early 2021 due to the uncertainties brought about by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

    The remainder of Season 82 was called off for good last April 7.

    Perasol said the Fighting Maroons are making sure they stay in shape during the crisis.

    “We do everything in a way which reacts proactively to the reality that this situation brings and find ways to get ourselves hopeful for what the future brings. We try to keep in touch by having a Zoom workout once every week. That’s how we stay at least in a neutral physical condition. Whenever it is necessary, we have team meetings (via Zoom) regarding our current situation, how this pandemic affects the affairs of the world, our country, and ultimately how it affects our team,” Perasol said.

    “Whenever possible, we get to encourage the frontliners through Zoom also. The coaches and the management team also meet virtually to make plans.”

    Boasting arguably the most talented line-up in the league last season with former MVP Bright Akhuetie, athletic star forward Kobe Paras, playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño, and high-flying wingman Ricci Rivero, UP advanced to the Final Four as the No. 2 squad with a 9-5 card after the elimination round.

    Despite having a twice-to-beat advantage, the Maroons were foiled in the stepladder semifinals by University of Santo Tomas, which lost to mighty Ateneo in the finals via a two-game sweep.

    UP is expected to bank on Paras, Akhuetie, and Rivero in the Season 83 cage wars.

    Citing their decision to focus on the national team pool, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño are set to sit out Season 83 but the Maroons have added the likes of 6-foot-11 Senegalese center Maodo Malick Diouf, who used to suit up for Centro Escolar University, former Adamson University big man CJ Catapusan, Fil-Am Sam Dowd, and Fil-Australian Ethan Kirkness to the team.