The UAAP Season consists of two parts, the first and second semester. The first semester usually starts on September and ends in December, while the second half runs spans from February to May. Last season, Basketball, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Taekwondo, Judo, Table Tennis, and Swimming were all played in the first fraction of the season. The latter part of the UAAP compromised of the following sports: Volleyball, Tennis, Fencing, Chess, Baseball, Softball, Athletics, and Football.
Last May 17, 2018, however, ABS-CBN Sports reported that Jose Nilo J. Ocampo, President of the Board of Trustees of the UAAP, announced that they have decided to reschedule some events. The events affected by the decision are Track and Field, Fencing, and Chess as their scheduled tournaments will be moved earlier than expected and will see the Green and Lady Tracksters, Green and Lady Fencers, and Green and Lady Woodpushers in action during the first half of the UAAP Season.
Although the Office of Sports Development has yet to officially make an announcement regarding the UAAP Board’s decision, The LaSallian seeked the opinion of the student-athletes that would possibly be affected by the sudden shift in the UAAP schedule.
Track and Field
Overall, the Green and Lady Tracksters are in favor of playing in the first half of the UAAP season because they feel that it’s better to start their season at an earlier date to avoid injuries and utilize the team’s peak fitness. It becomes difficult for the Tracksters to maintain their form when preparing for the Track and Field tournament scheduled in the second half since the student athletes will be taking a break to give way for the holiday break in December and January. This would prompt the training staff and athletes to overtrain to make up for lost time and increase the chances of injury.
Angeli Din, team captain of the Lady Tracksters, shares that, personally, she was not in favor of the change citing that she needs more to prepare for specific events and that the team’s training did not start on time. For her, the change was too sudden and that February next year would probably be the best time to compete.
Time was one of the issues raised by the Tracksters as the lack of it complicates their preparations for Season 81. Some athletes have gone through extra workouts to ensure they are ready for competiton. The team also gives emphasis on focusing on specific movements in training and other events that the Green-and-White participates in.
With the training getting more intense, taking its toll on physical and mental health of the athletes, the coaches constantly reminds their team of the goal: to win gold. The coaching staff also advised the student-athletes to maintain a healthy diet and sleep well.
On the other hand, the Green and Lady Fencers, are not in favor of the decision of the UAAP Board, citing that it would cause stress and challenge the athlete’s physical and mental health since they had just recently participated in the UAAP Season 80 Fencing Tournament earlier this year and won bronze.
Jaime Cojuanco, a rookie for the Green Fencers states that he was not personally affected by the change of schedule but if everyone on the team is affected by the new schedule it is now on “equal playing grounds”. The rookie has yet to make his UAAP debut and he hopes that the new schedule and training adjustments of the team will motivate him and his teammates for this upcoming season.
Pat Eusebio, captain of the Lady Fencers, explains that the team had to make several adjustments these past few months. To maintain a level of readiness for the upcoming season, the coaches changed the training schedule of the athletes from once-a-day to twice-a-day and has caused difficulties because of class schedules overlapping it.
The Woodpushers have no trouble in participating in the UAAP, whether in the first or second semester. Mira Mirano of the Lady Woodpushers explains that chess had always been a first semester event and it was reasonable to shift their schedule because the UAAP has always helped by partnering with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in terms of developing Filipino Youth through sport events.
According to Mirano, psychological adjustment especially to the pressure is one of the difficulties that the DLSU Woodpushers will face. “In chess we do not just work on the number of hours of training [but] the quality of it. The brain [is] like [a] machine, [it] has it’s input limit per day. We may finish a book in a day but reading and understanding are two different things which can oftentimes be lump in one sitting.”
Miriano also assured that the team will be able adapt with the change in schedule. She says that there will always be an opportunity for the Green and Lady Woodpushers to thrive in character through every setback they face.
Continuing, the attitude of the team is to always be ready to play whenever, wherever. “As long as we are here in the university, we will adhere to our commitment to play for La Salle. We will always see good in every situation, be it in first half or second half, the pressure will always be the same. If the movement means we can join our [National Sports Association] NSA or international competitions, better for us,” she says.
“However, since most tournaments in chess are usually more favorable to semestral schools anyway, we still usually do adjustments on our own if we really want to enhance our personal athletic pursuit.”
Benefits And Hindrances
The change of schedule has led to many pros and cons as stated by the affected athletes. The most common benefit the athletes stated is that they are going to be able to enjoy their Christmas break. With the early offseason, the athletes will also be able to focus more on their academics in the second half of the season.
On the other hand, the most common downside of the adjusted schedule is that they have rushed training, with the new schedule forcing some of the athletes to train two times a day with six days of training every week.