NCAA cage bubble ruled out due to P40M cost

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    WILL the NCAA 96th basketball tournament push through in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna?

    That’s unlikely due to the whopping P40 million estimated cost and the absence of green light from the government, according to a highly-reliable Malaya-Business Insight source.

    “Ipre-present sa Policy Board but I’m not optimistic na ma-approve iyan. Bubble pa rin pero ang sabi ni President Duterte, wala pang vaccine iyan (athletes) and walang face-to-face classes and under kami ng CHED,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

    “Considered iyan (bubble tournament) na school activity na hindi puwedeng basta-basta. Kailangan mayroon kang CHED approval, mayroon kang DOH approval, and finally, IATF approval. Iyong training nga lang, hindi pinayagan. Iyan pa.”

    The source said holding the cage tourney in a bubble was among the league’s options but was just not feasible.

    “Kaya namin inalam how much it costs kasi part na aming kino-consider pero kung ganoon kalaki, iba na lang. Huwag na muna,” the source said.

    “Hindi naman sila nag-quote. Nag-extrapolate lang si Mr. Callanta (Hercules, Lyceum athletic director). Kinuha niya iyong rates, based sa ganito karaming players, team officials, ganitong format, ganoon ang aabutin (P40 million).”

    Online events such as online chess and online taekwondo (Poomsae and speed kicking) will likely hack it for the country’s oldest collegiate league.

    The Commission on Higher Education released safety and health guidelines for the resumption of varsity training last October but nearly five months after, collegiate leagues are still waiting for the go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    In December last year, the Philippine Sports Commission also crafted guidelines for the conduct of collegiate tournaments.

    The IATF is just being cautious, the source said.

    “Kausap namin iyong mga taga-PSC, taga-CHED, DOH, nag-recommend sila na i-allow (training) kaya lang recommendation lang daw sila,” the source said.

    “Natatakot ang IATF na payagan kasi nagsu-surge na naman iyong bilang ng COVID-19 infections, overcautious sila, nag-iingat, pero that’s better ‘di ba.”

    The remainder of the last season was scrapped in mid-March last year at the start of the strict government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Among the sports that were called off were indoor volleyball, football, lawn tennis, soft tennis, track and field, beach volleyball, and cheerleading.