NCAA eyes bubbles in member-schools' campuses

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2020 02:48 PM

NCAA eyes bubbles in member-schools' campuses 1

MANILA, Philippines -- The NCAA is looking at holding its 96th season in bubbles based on the campuses of their member-schools, according to the chairman of the league's management committee.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA had to cancel its 95th season before it could be completed. The start of Season 96 was also pushed back to 2021, and it will be held on a smaller scale: teams will compete only in the four mandatory sports of basketball, volleyball, swimming, and athletics.

Fr. Vic Calvo of Season 96 host Colegio de San Juan de Letran, who chairs the management committee, said that they are now studying options on how to hold the competitions in a safe manner.

"We're forming a committee for studying the bubble concept," Calvo said in an appearance on "Power and Play" with former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. "Nakita naman natin sa PBA, very successful, and of course in other sports in other countries."

The PBA is currently holding its Philippine Cup in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga, while other professional leagues including Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 and the Philippines Football League have already completed their campaigns.

Bubbles have also proved effective for international leagues, with the National Women's Soccer League first to complete a season in the United States under such a set-up. The NBA and the WNBA later completed their seasons in separate bubbles in Florida. 

According to Calvo, they are studying the possibility of setting up bubbles within university campuses, as several of their member-schools are located in close proximity to one another.

"Because of the budget constraint, pwedeng school-based. For example, sa Intramuros, you have Mapua saka Lyceum, magkalapit lang 'yan eh," he noted.

"So 'yung classrooms, bakante, 'yung Lyceum merong hotel, 'yung court dalawa. So, pwedeng gawin doon," he added. "For example sa San Beda, Arellano, and EAC, San Sebastian, magkakalapit din 'yun, pwedeng gawin doon na naka-school-based siya."

"Sa school 'yung mga players, at i-apply po natin doon 'yung bubble principle. So, more or less ganoon 'yung idea."

Calvo assured that all of the guidelines and protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be followed. 

They are also being guided by the PBA, after the league provided them with a copy of their protocols.

"More or less, recommendation of the NCAA committee regarding the bubble concept. Maybe next week, matagal-tagal pa naman eh. We can do it next year pa naman eh," said Calvo.

The league is also looking into changes in terms of the competition schedule. In ordinary times, the NCAA holds its basketball tournament in July, with the volleyball tournament to follow in the second semester.

According to Calvo, they are considering the "SEA Games model," where all tournaments are held concurrently as is the norm in multi-sports events such as the Southeast Asian Games or the Asian Games.

Aside from the four mandatory sports, the NCAA may also hold online competitions for some sports, including chess.

"Sa ngayon, 'yung confirmed ay 'yung chess. Of course we have to identify pa 'yung others," said Calvo.

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