CARAA FIRST. The Baguio swimming pool will only accommodate the Cordillera Administrative Regional Athletic Association meet until late March with the start of training for Baguio swimmers, one month prior to the opening of the annual sports meet. This prompted Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League members to have their games postponed to after the CARAA meet and even after the Panagbenga which will have its grand opening on March 28 and closes on April 5. (PNA photo by Pigeon Lobien)

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The staging of most of the sports event in the Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League (BBEAL) for the second semester is in limbo due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) scare that prompted local officials here and in Baguio to either scrap or postpone the regularly scheduled events.

Only volleyball games will probably escape the fate of sporting events with host Cordillera Career Development College (CCDC) willing to open its doors to allow games played even with full house participation, the first in the 31-year-old sports meet.

“We have problems on venues, most will be used for the CARAA (Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association) and are being prepared,” said CCDC athletic director and BBEAL tournament director Eduardo Laureano.

Laureano said on Friday they have asked for the use of the Baguio athletic bowl sports complex, venue of most of the events, but these are either under renovation or being used for training of Baguio athletes.

“We can’t stage lawn tennis games, because the courts of the Baguio Tennis Club are being improved for the CARAA, the swimming pool is also used for training,” he said.

The CARAA was supposed to be staged on Feb. 16 until 21 but was moved to another date when the city government ordered crowd-drawing events to be moved to another date, right before the supposed opening of the Baguio Flower Festival.

The CARAA board has finally selected March 22 as the start of games with the closing ceremony on March 27, a day before the formal opening of the Panagbenga with a parade.

The Panagbenga closes on April 5 with the closing ceremonies to be staged at the Baguio athletic bowl.

Only then the BBEAL can have use of the sports facility.

“As of now, we still do not know when to start or even stage most of the events but the volleyball,” he added.

Laureano said volleyball games will start on Feb. 29 at the CCDC gym in Buyagan right after the formal openings at the same gym.

Games will be played every weekend that if other gyms are not usable, CCDC as host will open its doors for competitions so that games will be completed before any of the school goes on vacation.

Laureano said volleyball will be the only event that will have full attendance, meaning the 10 member schools will be sending a team for both men and women.

“This is the first time in BBEAL (and its precursor Baguio Benguet Colege Athletic Association) to have all teams in an event. Not even basketball has done that,” he said.

Schools want a single round-robin, instead of the two bracket format that denies all teams playing against each other.

With a two-bracket format, only 20 games will be played during the eliminations, while 45 games will be played in a single round-robin format.

“Each game will count definitely in a double bracket format and that means an early exit for a team. Ayaw nila (They do not like that),” he said.

“We can afford to have a single round-robin,” he said. “We are very happy though that all teams will be sending their squad, the first time in the league,” he added.

The BBEAL is also composed of defending over-all champion University of Baguio (UB), University of the Cordilleras (UC), Saint Louis University (SLU), Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Pines City College (PCC), Baguio College of Technology (BCT), Baguio Central University (BCU), Benguet State University (BSU) and the University of the Philippines (UP)–Baguio.

UC is the defending men’s volleyball champion, while BCT, the smallest member of the league, earned its first title in women’s volleyball last year, the first team outside of the BBEAL’s big three (UB, UC, and SLU) to win a title in the second most popular sports event.

Other events to be played this season are athletics, judo, swimming, lawn tennis, taekwondo, arnis, badminton, table tennis, and the demonstration sports muay Thai and boxing. (PNA)



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