Looks like UAAP teams are finally getting a green light to return to action after nearly a year and a half of inactivity.
College teams are waiting for authorization from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to resume practice as the UAAP aims for a February start new season.
Although no formal green signal has been given, the UAAP, through Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag is awaiting IATF approval on a draft of its guidelines and regulations to resume varsity league practices and, ideally, games.
The resumption of face-to-face classes at several member universities bodes well for the UAAP’s bid to resume operations after two seasons of cancellation.
Some UAAP schools reportedly readied for possible bubble training, with out-of-town players already being notified to return to Manila and rejoin their teams.
Many clubs have penciled in late October or November as a possible start date for practices, depending on the IATF’s permissions to the UAAP.
The government and the commercial sector have prioritized UAAP student-athletes’ immunization plans through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
College teams are expected to train in a bubble structure for at least three months while the league works out a timetable. The UAAP Season 84 season is kicking off in February 2022 at La Salle.
However, the tricky thing will be keeping these athletes on campus, particularly as the holidays approach.
When the UAAP returns, the landscape will undoubtedly be drastically different.
Six new coaches have been hired, making this the most significant coaching change in an offseason. Only Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin and Far Eastern University’s Olsen Racela remained from UAAP Season 82 in 2019.
Following the resignation and subsequent promotion of Bo Perasol, the University of Santo Tomas is bringing in Jinino Manansala to replace the suspended Aldin Ayo. At the same time, Goldwin Monteverde has been given the reins at the University of the Philippines.
Derrick Pumaren has been hired by La Salle to replace Gian Nazario and consultant Jermaine Byrd. Adamson has hired Nash Racela to replace Franz Pumaren.
On the other hand, National University has hired Jeff Napa to replace Jamike Jarin. While Jack Santiago has been hired by the University of the East to replace the late Bong Tan and consultant Lawrence Chongson.
That’s not to mention the personnel changes brought on by prominent players’ graduations, transfers, and foreign signings.
Even yet, the teams’ preparations will be interesting, with several, notably the UP Fighting Maroons, La Salle Green Archers, and UST Growling Tigers, experiencing significant squad changes.