By WAYLON GALVEZ
The NCAA is pushing through with Season 96, and it will be held starting May with two online competitions and perhaps “hybrid” events like basketball and volleyball.
NCAA Management Committee (MANCOM) Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of host Letran said that the oldest collegiate league in the country is adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with online events this year.
“Definitely we will push through. We have to be creative,” said Calvo during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum held yesterday, Tuesday. “The deck for the opening ceremonies, it is for approval today with some modifications.”
Calvo said that both the MANCOM and the Policy Board led by its president Fr. Clarence Marquez has approved two online competitions, chess and taekwondo event poomsae, a non-combat form.
Calvo also added that two events he calls ‘hybrid’ could be added, and these are for men’s basketball and women’s volleyball. The event would feature skills challenges for participants.
Some of the events Calvo pointed out include Slam Dunk, Three-Point Shootout and Obstacle Challenge for basketball, while for volleyball he said the NCAA is talking to Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. president Tats Suzara for the type of skills challenge they will be staging.
However, for these ‘hybrid’ events to push through, the longtime Letran official mentioned that they are hoping to get the blessing from the Commission on Higher Education or CHED, as well as the government under the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“We wrote a letter to CHED asking for an audience. We know that no face-to-face, we’ll know how far we can do this. If we’re not allowed, we can go online,” Calvo said, adding that the NCAA – with the help of new TV partner GMA – is being creative with its events.
“We’re not giving up because the NCAA embodies the Filipino resiliency and perseverance especially in sports.”
As for the traditional 5-on-5 in men’s basketball, as well as the 6-a-side women’s volleyball, Calvo said that it is still in the NCAA plans, but it would all depend on the vaccination program to have these events.
Calvo revealed that the NCAA has already ordered and is expecting to get the Covavax vaccines at Unilab Philippines this coming May, and that students/athletes and officials of basketball and volleyball would be the first recipients of the said vaccine for free.
“We will finance the vaccination of athletes and officials,” said Calvo, adding that they are getting a good deal with Unilab since it is partly owned by Dr. Jose Paolo Campos, the president of NCAA member school Emilio Aguinaldo College.