The return of face-to-face collegiate sports competition in the Philippines is still nowhere near close to fruition, but hope is growing day by day as the country slowly but surely tries to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
In the first episode of UAAP Talk on Monday, May 31, UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag praised the vaccine rollout as the league continues its Season 84 preparations.
“Well I guess the game-changers would be the vaccine rollouts. All these decisions were made with the premise that there is no vaccine yet. Now that we have the vaccines, and they’re proving to be effective, maybe that’s a game-changer,” he said.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, so hopefully, it continues moving on.”
With vaccines from multiple manufacturers making their way to the country almost every week, the league is hoping that it can resume discussions with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) regarding the return of face-to-face training, student-athlete inoculations, and ultimately, face-to-face events.
Season 84 preparations by host De La Salle University were supposed to ramp up at the start of the year, but the meteoric rise of cases from March to April halted all sports-related talks with the league and concerned government agencies.
“At the CHED level, we were already approved. I guess with the rollout of the vaccines, it’s safe to say, and I don’t undermine the government agencies, but I guess it will be easier,” continued Saguisag.
“What we’re looking at now with the vaccines is not only just the return to training, but actually trying to come up with a proposal that now we can actually really concretely discuss returning to competition. With the vaccine rollout, your premises change.”
For now, only the country’s Olympians and SEA Games delegation have been given their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine courtesy of the Philippine Sports Commission. There is no word yet on when collegiate athletes can be queued up for their jabs.
In the meantime, Saguisag is preaching hope and cautious optimism moving forward as the country works toward herd immunity from the deadly virus.
“Sometimes, hope is the only thing we have. Hope is a good thing. All of us want competition to return but without the vaccine, at one point I was really wondering if everything was about to be futile,” he said.
“But because of this vaccine, I think, to simplify it, [it’s] a little game-changer, Saguisag reiterated.” – Rappler.com