Will Calma stay with the Stags?

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    WITH San Sebastian College gunner RK Ilagan joining the PBA Draft on March 14, Golden Stags coach Egay Macaraya is keeping his fingers crossed that big man JM Calma would stay and play his final year.

    Macaraya has until the pro league office hours today to find out Calma’s decision.

    Whatever happens, he is ready to start anew with what he called the “new generation of the Golden Stags.”

    “So far, wala siyang sinabi sa akin,” Macaraya told Malaya-Business Insight, referring to Calma.

    “Our team is almost the new generation of the Golden Stags. Parang nag-start kami ulit,” he added.

    The 6-foot-5 Calma was good for 8.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in the last NCAA cage wars where San Sebastian emerged with an 11-7 card to reach the Final Four as the fourth-ranked team in 2019. The Stags fell to eventual champion Letran in their stepladder semifinal duel.

    Nearly 10 months after the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic broke out that stalled sporting events, the fifth-year tactician is hoping his charges could soon get back to the gym.

    “I’m just hoping na maka-start na tayo ng on-court practices because a lot is to be done,” Macaraya said. “Right now, all I can do is hope and pray that everyone is healthy always and ready whatever happens if ever we could open the NCAA in a bubble.”

    Set to be hosted by Letran, the new season of the country’s oldest collegiate league is set to be held with only the four mandatory sports of basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field under a school-based bubble concept in the second quarter this year.

    The Commission on Higher Education released the safety and health guidelines for the resumption of varsity training last October but collegiate leagues are still waiting for the green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    The Philippine Sports Commission also crafted guidelines for the conduct of collegiate tournaments last December.