Safety is paramount, says UAAP coaches after cancellation of 83rd season

Published December 12, 2020, 1:24 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

UAAP Opening
(MB File Photo / Jansen Romero)

Coaches Bo Perasol and Oliver Almadro respected the decision of the UAAP Board of Trustees to cancel the league’s 83rd season due to the ongoing pandemic crisis.

“I have no doubt that they only have the best interest and safety of everyone in mind when they made this decision,” said Perasol, coach of the University of the Philippines men’s basketball, hours after the league released a statement of the cancellation.

This would be the first time that the league is cancelling an entire season since World War II from 1941 to 1946.

“After a series of discussions, the UAAP Board of Trustees came to this difficult decision, putting major consideration on the health and safety of the student-athletes and those involved in the operations of our competitions,” the statement said.

Almadro, who coaches the Ateneo women’s volleyball team, also accepted and understood the board decision and tried to look at the brighter side.

“We know they are only after the welfare of the athletes. Of course we’re sad about it because we’ve been preparing since last season but health and safety comes first,” Almadro said.

The second semester of the 82nd season was also cancelled early this year, with only a few matches played in centrepiece volleyball.

The 83rd season was supposed to start last September, but was pushed to a later date since the government still does not allow schools to have face-to-face classes.

The alternative plan was to hold it in the first quarter of 2021, preferably April, until the league decided to scrap it all.

Almadro said they have already altered their program aligned to a possible tournament bubble and have been training consistently online.

“My players were excited and eager. We thought talaga na magkakaroon. When news went online about the cancellation, they started messaging me, ‘Coach, totoo ba?’ So maiintindihan mo rin yung reaction ng players,” he said.

Almadro said the best he could do is to focus on his players’ mental and emotional health right now.

“Hindi lang X and Os. Hindi lang physical conditioning. Right now, I have to be there for my players. Although they understand and respect the decision, I know that it’s also frustrating for them,” he said.

Perasol is also looking forward to more clarifications on how to move forward following the cancellation.

“In due time, I’m sure, we will all need some clarity on the rules which are going to be amended and those which are going to stay,” Perasol said.

The league has assured they will discuss to member schools the implications of the cancellation.