Cagers enjoy eased Covid restrictions

The University Athletic Association of the Philippines formally eased restrictions and standards in postponing games in the event a team yields positive Covid-19 cases while competition in the Season 85 is ongoing.

UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag said that for the basketball events, teams can only request a postponement of games if more than 10 of their players will test positive for the highly-contagious respiratory disease.

For the first time since the outbreak of the global health crisis, the UAAP will stage a full calendar of events following the government’s lifting of stringent restrictions as the country veers toward a pandemic exit.

Centerpiece men’s and women’s basketball events are set to start on Saturday.

“Basically, we have moved from the very stringent standards before which was a minimum of three players that will test positive per team will merit a postponement,” Saguisag said, adding that each team was given 16 regular slots with four Covid-19 reserves.

“To avail of a valid postponement, there must be more than 10 positive cases in a team. Meaning, 11 positive cases already means that there’s an outbreak so that’s a valid reason.”

He added that a team with at least five players can still play based on FIBA rules.

A student-athlete who will test positive for Covid will need to undergo a one-week quarantine.

“First, they have to observe the minimum quarantine, right now I think it’s seven days,” Saguisag said.

“For them to be cleared to play they will just need one negative antigen test. The reason being, if you’re negative in an antigen test, you’re not infectious already.”

Meanwhile, ranking UAAP officials drew all-out support from Philippine Sports Commission chairperson Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala as they return to action.

In a courtesy call recently, Eala expressed his support to the league that will come up with a full calendar of events this season.

“I’m excited. It’s been a while since we had the UAAP with all the drums,” said Eala, who studied in one of the league’s member universities, Ateneo de Manila University.

“(Last season), I watched the last few games of Ateneo, the last few games of La Salle, and the Final Four. I just haven’t watched the championship because I was out of town.”

“I’m very happy to support the UAAP. I don’t know how, but our facilities, of course, are always welcome to help you.”

The UAAP has been using various PSC facilities in its events for the longest time like the Philsports track and field oval for athletics, the Rizal Memorial Stadium for football, and the Rizal Memorial swimming complex for aquatics, the Rizal Memorial badminton hall for badminton, the Rizal Memorial tennis complex for lawn tennis, and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium for men’s basketball.

It also hosted basketball and volleyball events at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum prior to its use of bigger venues such as the Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena.

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