UAAP bubble for 2021 in play

First it was the NBA. Then, the PBA did the same.

Is the UAAP next in line to hold a bubble setup to resume competition?

Multiple sources have told Rappler that is one of the possibilities strongly being considered as collegiate sports teams await the imminent announcement of guidelines from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the resumption of training. 

According to a source, the guidelines, which have already been approved from a macro perspective, will soon be formalized, and thus open the path for the return of UAAP sports tournaments. 

“These CHED guidelines for limited physical face-to-face practice is [preparation] to a forthcoming athletic competition, but, of course, still pending approval from the IATF.”

What is for certain is that “limited physical face-to-face training” will soon be allowed, although the process, as one source put it, will be “very tedious.” 

With that in mind, participating universities of the UAAP will not be required to resume training right away. 

“It will be only for those universities who can comply with the strict requirements or the guidelines,” said a source. 

Kaya ginagawa ito kasi nga ang lahat, ang rational ay magkaroon ng athletic competition maybe early next year.”

(We’re doing this because the rational is there will be an athletic competition maybe early next year.)

A coach of a UAAP team told Rappler that the expectation is for the bubble to begin in March 2021. Another source claims it will begin one month later. 

Either way, the period in between the return of face-to-face training and the UAAP bubble will give the league enough time to come up with possible health regulations and safety protocols as the world continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to well-placed sources from UAAP schools, there are no “concrete” or final plans yet about the potential bubble. 

However, assuming no vaccine for COVID-19 will be released, and face-to-face classes will not yet resume, a bubble will be the UAAP’s only avenue to hold Season 83. 

One of the potential issues, aside from making sure everyone present will remain safe, is that not all sports teams will get to participate in the bubble due to lack of resources following the pandemic. 

Multiple sources have told Rappler that student-athletes from different universities have had a difficult time receiving their allowances.

As of posting time, sources expect the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball tournaments as most likely to resume play in the event of a bubble. 

Iba-iba yung resources available bawat member schools, so that’s their own diligence kung kaya nila yun or hindi,” said a source.

(Each member school has different resources, so that’s their own diligence if they can pull it off or not).

Another source informed Rappler that no potential venues have been discussed, although a number of UAAP players are under the impression the bubble might take place either in Ateneo, which has a large campus, or National University’s Laguna branch, where the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 President’s Cup bubble is currently taking place.

An official decision from the UAAP, whether from the Board of Managing Directors, Board of Trustees, or executive director Rebo Saguisag is “forthcoming,” according to sources. 

As of posting time, Saguisag has not responded to Rappler for comment. 

There is also a belief that collegiate student-athletes will adjust better to a bubble setup compared to professional players, given that most of these teenagers and young adults already spend most of the year away from their homes by living in their respective dormitories. – Rappler.com