A FULL RIDE TO PHILIPPINE SPORTS IN 2020
Ranged with peaks and falls of events, without a doubt, 2020 is a year to remember. Not only how our daily lives and routines change with the invasion of the virus, but the Philippines sports landscape has also faced trills and a roller coaster of events throughout the year.
Heated tournaments, cheering crowds, and series of sports meet. These are some of the moments the sports community missed during the year. Although some anticipated sports events did not resume due to health and safety protocols, people are still looking forward to catching a glimpse of their favorite athletes playing their games.
Achieving best for Philippine Sports
Just before the pandemic closed the gates for any sports action, the Philippines added fresh layers of next-generation athletes. Carrying the torch of the country in the international Olympics is Hidilyn Diaz. Diaz has written in the tale of the very first female Olympian medalist from the weightlifting category.
Another sports prodigy bringing pride to Filipinos is Alex Eala. Clinching titles on the international stage as a tennis star. At such a young age Eala has achieved much for her career slamming shots in global arenas of tennis.
Abundant with talents, these athletes can bring cynicism into rays of sunshine. Like how Efren “Bata” Reyes, Carlos Yulo, and other athletes lead the legacy and triumph in their respective sports. Philippine sports continue to rise its leaderboard, giving more opportunities to Filipino athletes.
Cancellation of Collegiate Sports
The idea of a pandemic upends people’s clear thinking of health and safety. It holds the cancellation of major leagues, gatherings, and even physical schooling. Diving into the quarantine protocols and avoiding the virus outbreak, major collegiate sports such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) scrapped intercollegiate athletics from their calendar year.
Since then, campuses and cheering crowds were vacant. The resumption date is still unseen wiping out one of the anticipated events of the year. Thus, the cancellation spread emotions to the student, athletes, and the whole sports community.
Truthfully, even if you are not a fan of sports, every student anticipates collegiate sports. Watching and cheering the athletes lifts the school spirit of the players and the audience.
You may be cheering your school team and standing in the crowd amazed at the intensity of the game. It is a pity that none of these happened.
Despite the foregone sports season, everyone is still yearning for the health and safety of the student-athletes putting leagues and athletic programs on hold.
Resumption still depends on the situation of the pandemic in the country, but on the positive side, athletes used the time to improve and find ways to stay healthy and active.
Almost a year has passed as well as the stratum of our primitive life is beginning to return. Although college sports prohibit safe playing, following protocols is still the best solution for the athletes during the raging pandemic.
Sorsogon bubble controversy
One of the extreme issues in the collegiate sports level that lasted for almost a month was the Sorsogon bubble controversy involving University of Santo Tomas (UST) players and coaches.
Investigations, resignations, and departures for not following quarantine and health protocols took place. The issue became stronger when athletes left the team and put an indefinite ban on the UST Coach Ayo.
The breach of protocols has profoundly given a large impact on athletes and other sportspersons. Appearing as an eye-opener for all to comply with the guidelines.
Over the years, the sports industry has evolved in many ways. Among those was the growth of women’s sports.
In some ways, there are still barriers and a lack of opportunities when it comes to women’s involvement in sports. It is not new that the sports are idealized as male-dominated activity most particularly in basketball but the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) gained its momentum leveling up to professional status just this year.
Efforts were not wasted, as the progression of women’s basketball in the Philippines granted a license as the very first women’s basketball league in the Philippines.
Not only it pushes the popularity of women’s basketball, but it will also help bolster the program into a whole lot of opportunities.
Intensified by the development, women ballers raised the banner of gender equality in sports participation.
In addition to that, the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) has officially joined the professional ranks after several years of being semi-professional.
Although the pandemic has confined athletes into playing in big leagues, women sports stepped further in their tournaments shaping PVL as the second women’s league that gained professional status. The new development of women’s sports brought prestige and security.
On the occasion that the pandemic situation is the same for the next year, the newly licensed professional league PVL can now march ahead in planning to open the conference in early 2021.
Basketball pro league resumption in the bubble
In the middle of the current pandemic, the athletes have been stripped away from their games and tournaments. Even with umpteen of obstacles, the PBA season resumes, handling a bubble concept environment.
Crafting a solution of delaying the season was not the choice, and focusing on limiting physical contact in the bubble was the solution.
A dramatic shift of training camps, where every player is subject to swab testing before entering the bubble as well as following strict health and safety protocols were implemented.
Few hiccups on the way as some of the players tested positive for the virus. Balancing to stay healthy and continuing the bubble has been the paramount priority. Although many were skeptical of the situation, still, the association handled it successfully.
Wrapping the bubble, Barangay Ginebra finished off as champions of the first and hopefully the last PBA bubble championship. Although capturing the title in an unusual set-up, the Gin Kings were able to cap it off after 13 years.
Gilas Pilipinas’ All Cadet Lineup
With the PBA clashing its schedule with the second window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas resorted to fielding an all cadet lineup where they dominated Thailand giving the country a 3-0 lead in its bid for a coveted spot in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.
Leading the pack are the likes of Kobe Paras, Dwight Ramos, Calvin Orftana, and Gomez de Liaño brothers, they were able to sweep the Thais in a lopsided affair as they annihilated Thailand by 32 points in their first encounter and 24 points in the second.
Dwight Ramos’ had a breakout performance in their first encounter after he tallied 20 points who went perfect from the field (7-7), beyond the three-point line (2-2), and the charity stripe (4-4). While the GDL bros linked up for 33 points in the second match up with Thailand.
Despite fielding a team with no PBA players or veterans, the young Gilas squad claimed the lead for a solo top spot in Group A.
From self-isolation to quarantine set-up of sports training. Being creative during a pandemic becomes the trend in Philippine sports. Truth be told, people are in look of more entertainment activities during the quarantine.
Sports have been the people’s avenue to escape and heal from all dire straits. It would be nice to turn the television on to watch live sports. Since fans cannot go to arenas to watch tournaments, sports enthusiasts at least want to catch a sight of the games again. However, decisions are left to medical experts and high-ranking officials for they know what is best for athletes.
As the new year is set to start, people are in hopes of normalcy to resumption the lost games and watch athletes play in a normal season.