Bubble play just fine with Macaraya


    HOLED up the past eight months due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, San Sebastian College coach Egay Macaraya welcomed the NCAA’s option to hold its 96th season in a bubble while expressing the hope that actual games and scrimmages will follow.

    “It’s great news (the NCAA considering holding its season on a bubble), but still we are hoping that the IATF will allow scrimmages or practices because it’s hard to play without preparation knowing ang tagal na-stop maglaro ang mga bata,” Macaraya told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “But it will be a good start for everyone who loves sports. Gusto ko ng bumalik sa normal life doing the thing we love,” he added.

    The Commission on Higher Education last Oct. 26 released the safety and proper health guidelines for the resumption of collegiate team practice, but it will be limited to workouts and physical conditioning.

    Actual games need a greenlight from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    Macaraya, who will call the shots for the Golden Stags for the fifth straight year, noted that the resumption of training should be a good first step for collegiate leagues.

    “It’s really a great relief on our part hearing a lot of improvement in our pandemic situation. But still the safety of everyone will come first,” Macaraya said.

    “The school will follow all the protocols and guidelines before we could start face to face practice but right now, we are doing virtual practices. Hoping for the best.”

    The NCAA intends to launch its new season, set to be hosted by Letran, early next year.

    The country’s oldest collegiate league is considering holding its season in a bubble if and when the IATF gives the go-signal.

    The Recto-based five will rely on prized playmaker RK Ilagan and energetic big man JM Calma in its bid next season.

    Aside from the 5-foot-8 Ilagan and 6-foot-5 Calma, the likes of guards Itchie Altamirano and Alex Desoyo are expected to lead the squad which lost prolific forward Allyn Bulanadi, who was tabbed by Alaska in the special Gilas draft last December, and Alvin Capobres, who was picked by Magnolia in the pro league.

    The Stags wound up with an 11-7 record for fourth in the last NCAA cage wars but fell short against eventual champions Letran in their stepladder semifinal battle.

    San Sebastian, then under former PBA MVP Ato Agustin, last reached the Promised Land in 2009 behind the likes of Jimbo Aquino, Pamboy Raymundo, Ronald Pascual, and now pros Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang.