BBEAL still in limbo after 2 years of absence

ARE WE THERE YET. Athletic directors of the 11-school Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League meet to discuss the end of the 33rd season and them looking forward to the 34th season of the athletic league that has been absent for more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pigeon Lobien

With the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples coming out possibly with a sports awards honoring IP athletes – and their coaches – winning in international competitions, the hunt for a gym is on.

“The University if the Cordilleras is not yet done. The University of Baguio gym has started its renovations. It is too difficult at the newly renovated PFVR gym,” admitted Michael Umaming of the NCIP.

“Eating is not allowed at the PFVR,” he added.

One gym could surely now accommodate the NCIP planned big awards day for the athletes, the Saint Louis University Bernaard Gym (formerly Burgos Gym), which is now open after nearly four years of being closed due to the expansion project of the SLU Hospital of the Sacred Heart.

Availability of gyms especially among the top three schools are what confounds varsity athletes and coaches of the Big Three and after the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

UB’s men’s basketball team are now training at the newly built gym of barangay Bakakeng, for instance.

SLU opted out of hosting the 2019-2020 edition of the Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League which then prompted the 11 school sports league to have instead Cordillera Career Development College as host, a year early in the rotation.

CCDC and the BBEAL board had games cancelled in March 17 after the Luzon wide lockdown – or enhanced community quarantine that cut the second semester of play including volleyball which was then five games old only.

The BBEAL has been absent the past two years that local sports journalists are asking when it will start again.

“The UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) and NCAA (National College Athletic Association) have been open since last year, why would the BBEAL not start yet,” observed former SunStar Baguio editor Roderick Osis.

Late last September, the athletic directors of the 11-school members met and decided that the 33rd season (2019-2020) has been officially cancelled and they look forward to the 34th season of the league.

Like a moving on of sorts, the directors said that CCDC has officially stepped down with liquidations to be done soon and for them check how much the league has for its finances.

The BBEAL has taken a big blow during the lockdowns where the treasurer, from the Pines City College, resigned from his job at said school and thus was considered resigned from the BBEAL.

That has caused problems as to the release of funds, although temporarily, with the BBEAL board needing to come out with a resolution naming a new treasurer and a change in signatory.

The athletic directors, the working technical committee of the BBEAL, also welcomed incoming league commissioner Frael Aquino of the incoming host Benguet State University.

“Let us welcome our new league commissioner,” announced Danilo Cong-o of the University of the Cordilleras during the meeting at the University of Baguio.

They announced later that the league opens January with expectedly a limited number of events.

However, Cong-o wants games to start as soon as possible and give the league a shot in the arm after more than two years of absence.

“I really want to stage events that could relaunch the league. But then this needs to be confirmed by the presidents or the executive board and there is no time,” intimated Cong-o.

But then time is running out with two more months in the calendar and the first semester of a new normal in education is about to conclude.

It could still be possible, said Cong-o, adding that this will include maybe basketball and volleyball though a three on three competition and not five on five, or a lawn version of volleyball that will require only three players.

UB arnis coach and national team coach Ruth Ann Lavarias said that she had told Cong-o of her willingness to run an inter-school arnis tournament including college levels but is still waiting for the UC athletic director’s answer.

Until now, it is still a wait and see, as the athletes, even their fans, await the return of the prime athletic league in Baguio and Benguet. Pigeon Lobien



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