NCAA plods on despite big difficulties ahead

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    THE NCAA is not raising the white flag.

    Despite the sudden surge in COVID-19 infections and an end to the country’s pandemic woes nowhere in sight, the league’s 96th season will push through with online events, according to Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP, of host Letran.

    “Definitely, we will push through. We have to be creative. In fact, since the start of the lockdown, after the turnover (of hosting) we’ve been meeting everyday halos and once a week regularly how to do this. Remember that we still have to choose our (broadcast) partner and we’re glad na nakakuha kami ng partner who pushes us to do this season,” Calvo said yesterday in the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

    “So, ano ba ang mga events? For the safer side of things, we have chess kasi online naman iyon and it will be telecast with some modifications and taekwondo, we have poomsae and other taekwondo online competitions,” he added.

    Calvo said the country’s oldest collegiate league is working doubly hard to save its new season set to kick off virtually in the first week of May.

    “It’s easy for us to say na tapos na, wala ng problema, tapos na ang season, iyon ang pinakamaganda at pinakamadaling gawin,” Calvo said in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Milo, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and powered by Smart and Upstream Media as official webcast partner.

    “But it’s not our line of thinking, sabi nga namin we have to show the entire nation na kahit gaano kahirap, gawin natin ito for the sake of our student-athletes na buhay na buhay ang NCAA as an association, lalong lalo na we’re preparing also na ilang taon na lang it’s our 100th year.”

    The league is waiting to get clear directions on what is allowed and not from the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education.

    “We’re waiting for the response kasi school-based kami, sa CHED and DepEd, sa kanila kami direct. We wrote a letter three weeks ago. We know there’s no face-to-face (classes), so we have to agree on how far we can do this,” Calvo said.

    “If we’re not allowed, we’ll do online. Creative naman tayo. Hindi naman tayo naggi-give up kasi the NCAA embodies the Filipinos’ resiliency and perseverance lalong lalo na sa sports.”
    Aside from basketball and the online and skills events, the NCAA is considering holding a beach volleyball tourney similar to the successful Gatorade-Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup in a bubble in Subic.

    “Possibly, kung papayagan, online din naman pero may restrictions iyong IATF and of course iyong CHED and other agencies, iyong volleyball and basketball and in fact there’s a proposal for beach volleyball na naganap sa Subic last time successfully. We’re considering that,” he said.

    “For sure, at least dalawa or apat na hybrid and online competitions ang inihahanda ng NCAA na medyo sigurado. Of course, iyong chess and taekwondo, sigurado na iyon kasi nakakasa na.”

    Among the options the league considered was holding its season in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.