Months ago, sports fans were unsure if the UAAP would return, as the country’s dire circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the planning stage of UAAP Season 84.
Fast forward to yesterday, June 21, UAAP Season 84 ended on a high note as the NU Lady Bulldogs were crowned as Women’s Volleyball champions for the first time in 65 years, along with University of Santo Tomas’ victory as the season’s General Champions.
After concluding a rollercoaster season, UAAP President and DLSU Office of Sports Development (OSD) Executive Director Emmanuel Calanog shared that it was the UAAP’s initial goal to bring back a “sense of normalcy in college sports, ”banking on having “the best season out of what would be available.”
With UAAP fans generating the same buzz on social media and in live events despite not having the regular lineup of sports this season, it is safe to say that the healthy and competitive sporting environment has reached its awaited comeback.
But a great comeback season did not go about without its own challenges. After looking back, Calanog expounded that their greatest challenge was the uncertainty that came with the pandemic. “Since Season 83, we were dealing with that uncertainty of whether meron bang season, anong sports ba. We were hoping that we would be able to have a full season as host, [because] the last time we hosted was 10 years ago,” he said, noting that their main goal was simply to come up with something while trying to make the best season out of what they had available.
Facing these obstacles was worth it in the end, however, as the country witnessed an invigorated sports crowd throughout the season.
“We planned this for almost two years, but it went by so fast. In three months, we were done,” Calanog said as he looked back on the time when the season was only in the planning stages.
Although the season was short in time, Calanog had everyone involved to thank for what they were able to accomplish throughout Season 84. “[Everything] was a collective effort of everybody. We took the lead, but in the end, it took all eight schools—all their hard work, sacrifice, [and] cooperation to be able to come up with this abbreviated season.” He also extended his gratitude to the athletes, stating, “This year was a testament to all the hard work, patience, and sacrifice of all our athletes…In the end, it was really our athletes who took center stage. It was all them.”
Although the momentum does not stop here.
Calanog mentioned that the DLSU Men’s Basketball Team is back in training and are already gearing up for UAAP Season 85 ahead of time. “Without confirming whether they’re actually participating or not, they’re looking at a couple of pre-season tournaments as training for Season 85,” he remarked.
While audiences wait to see their favorite athletes on court again, Adamson University will be in charge of orchestrating the schedule for next season which will be in “more or less September or October, hopefully with all sports back.”
With this season’s unorthodox schedule, Calanog also disclosed that the goal is to operate within the UAAP’s “normal timeframe”, but that it must be feasible given the country’s still unpredictable disposition amid the health crisis. The UAAP executive acknowledged that “we’re still in a pandemic and cases have been slowly going up.”
Above all, similar to Season 84’s major hurdle, Calanog concluded that the UAAP’s next challenge is to “bring back the other sports safely…so that [athletes and teams] can start training for Season 85.”