WHILE admitting his charges are aching to return to the gym, University of the East coach Jack Santiago insisted virtual training will do, for now.
“We don’t want to rush going back to training without the go-signal from the IATF and potentially jeopardize our team and our players’ safety,” Santiago told Malaya-Business Insight.
“As long as we continue our virtual training properly, I think we’ll be okay until the guidelines from IATF are released,” he added.
The Commission on Higher Education released the safety and health guidelines for the resumption of varsity training last Oct. 26 but the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to give the nod.
That’s just fine for Santiago, who maintained precautions remain the top priority for the Red Warriors due to the threat of the deadly pandemic.
“Of course, I’m happy that conditioning training has been granted permission since this means further development for collegiate sports,” Santiago said. “However, we’re still waiting for the go-signal of IATF because like I always say, the safety of our players and team is of utmost importance.”
UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag said if the return to training of collegiate squads gets the green light from the IATF this month and a tournament approval will follow, the league intends to launch its new season, set to be hosted by La Salle, in April 2021 under a bubble-set up and possibly with only the centerpiece sports such as basketball and volleyball.
Santiago, who took over at the helm of UE from the late Bong Tan and active consultant Lawrence Chongson last January, has his work cut out for him.
The Recto-based crew finished with a 4-10 record in the last UAAP cage wars for seventh and is determined to end an 11-year Final Four drought.
The Warriors lost playmaker Rey Suerte, who was selected in the special Gilas draft last December, and guards Jed Mendoza and Philip Manalang due to graduation.