THE Commission of Higher Education (CHEd) praised the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) for a well-maintained bubble set-up during its ongoing Season 84 men's basketball tournament.
"I'm very confident that the UAAP, because as part of the team that put together the guidelines," is doing a very good job," said CHEd chairman Popoy De Vera during Saturday afternoon's media briefing at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
"I think the fact that there have been no infections for the whole tournament is a testament to the fact that the CHEd-DOH guidelines were made...they were actually made with the full participation of the stakeholders."
The basketball season, which began last March 26, was initially held in the first four playdates without an audience. With Metro Manila on Alert Level 1 - the least restrictive quarantine level - the league on April 5 has opened its doors to fans to watch at the Pasay venue after two years.
"I'm very happy to see our student-athletes after two years are able to compete again. I'm happy to see the schools' alumni and spectators watch again," said De Vera.
"Two years has been a very long time for the athletes, for parents and families," he added.
Not taking any chances, the UAAP will continue to hold the basketball event - where the teams are strictly confined in a school-venue-school bubble set-up up to the very end.
"I think the Board of Managing Directors, had committed to maintain the bubble at least for the basketball tournament," said UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag.
"Just as important as starting, it is the finishing. Tatapusin natin ito ng maayos. So far, with our fingers crossed, we have zero incidents of infections," he added.
"The UAAP has taken higher standards when it comes to health and safety, not only to the student-athletes but everyone concerned. To be honest, magastos siya, masakit sa ulo, but we rather risk, pay the high cost just to make sure that everything is okay."
UAAP Season 84 president Nong Calanog of host De La Salle, for his part, said the decision to have a closed circuit for the volleyball tournament, which is set to begin on May 5, will be decided in next week's board meeting so that the women's teams will be ready.
"We actually may consider going to a closed-circuit situation or set-up going into the volleyball tournament," said Calanog.
After the media briefing, De Vera was given a plaque of appreciation by Saguisag and Calanog. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)