By WAYLON GALVEZ
Officials of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have expressed confidence that basketball and volleyball be played in Season 96 that is set to start on June 13.
NCAA Management Committee (MANCOM) Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of season host Letran said they are hoping to get an approval from the government agencies to allow the oldest collegiate league in the country to play the two sports under strict health protocols.
Calvo said they already asked permission of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the two popular sports to be part of Season 96 calendar of events.
“Tingin ko matutuloy din e. CHED, of course, ang pinaka-crucial and IATF,” said Calvo as he and Peter Cayco of Arellano University and MANCOM chairman of Season 96 took part in the weekly online PSA Forum Tuesday.
“As we go along the way, hindi kumpleto kung walang basketball and volleyball alam naman natin yan.”
Cayco said there is no timeline with the face-to-face basketball and volleyball considering that the target month for the opening of the 97th Season is September because the NCAA can adjust its calendar.
“It’s kind of flexible. Kasi kapag naka-start na kami and inabutan siya (basketball and volleyball) ng Season 96, we’ll adjust (the Season 97 opening). Madali na yan once makakuha kami ng permiso,” said Cayco.
The two school officials both mentioned that vaccinating the players is now being considered as part of eligibility guidelines. However, nothing is final at the moment as MANCOM is still working on the details since being vaccinated is a choice of a person.
But for face-to-face events to push through, particularly for basketball and volleyball, Calvo and Cayco understand that vaccines are the only solution to assure health and safety.
Meanwhile, Calvo said that everything is all set for the ‘hybrid’ opening ceremony with online chess and takewondo’s poomsae event as the initial sports discipline to be showcased by new broadcast partner GMA-7.
“Everything is in order, thanks to our network partner for really working hard para matuloy itong NCAA despite itong pandemic,” said Calvo, adding that skills events in basketball and volleyball will also be played in an online competition.
As for the opening ceremony, Calvo said it is something to look forward to since GMA-7 is making sure that it’s going to be an amazing event for sports fans here and even abroad with the theme ‘Rising Up’ for this season.
“I think this will be one of the best, if not the best opening the NCAA will ever have sa history niya. Tinaon pa na pandemic. Gumagana ang resiliency ng NCAA to keep on – sa iba sumusuko na, mahirap nga naman,” he said.
“Ratings wise solong-solo namin ngayon yung ere. We’re No. 1, I can brag about it that we’re No. 1 as of the moment.”