By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE opening of the volleyball tournament of Season 82 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will not push through as scheduled as the league board moved for its postponement and other events over concerns on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

In an announcement made on Wednesday afternoon, the UAAP’s Board of Trustees and Board of Managing Directors said they deemed it proper to postpone all league events for the time being to ensure the safety of the entire UAAP community in light of the serious threat that COVID-19 poses.

The decision, the league reiterated, was also in compliance with the advisories of the health and education departments discouraging people from going to large gatherings, like sporting events, to avoid the further spread of the disease in the country.

“The University Athletic Association of the Philippines upholds, in the highest regard, the well-being, health and safety of the League’s community — players, coaches, students, their families and fans in general,” said the league’s statement, which was co-signed by UAAP President Emmanuel Fernandez and Executive Director Rene Saguisag, Jr.

It added, “In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the UAAP, after thorough deliberation by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Managing Directors, have come to a decision to postpone all sporting events starting Saturday, 15 February.”

The decision was a turnaround from the league’s announcement made on Tuesday at the press conference for the second-semester sports that the league’s events would push through amid the COVID-19 threat as preventive measures were already in place.

Directly hit by the decision was the start of the marquee volleyball tournament which was set to unfurl on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Also postponed were the men’s football tournament which was set to begin on Feb. 16, softball tournament (Feb. 17), seniors baseball tournament (Feb. 19), athletics (Feb. 19-23), and judo (last week of February).

The playoffs for the high school beach volleyball and basketball tournaments were also set to be moved.

The fencing tournament and the 10th match day of the high school boys’ football tournament though will still take place this week.

The UAAP did not say when the postponement will be lifted but said it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make the decision as things move along.

It went on to say that it was a tough decision to make but something needed to be done even as they asked for understanding from all concerned.