NCAA Season 96 to push through in May

The 96th season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will open in the first week of May.

San Beda University’s James Kwekuteye (No. 15) soars to the basket against Letran’s Kurt Reyson during the NCAA Season 95 finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. FILE PHOTO

NCAA Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of host school Colegio de San Juan de Letran made the announcement on Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) online forum.

All 10 member schools will participate in the tournament.

“Definitely, we will push through. The opening will be in the first week of May,” said Calvo.

“In fact, right now, we’re having a meeting with GMA on how to do it. The deck for the opening ceremonies is already up for approval and some modifications.”

Due to the restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the only events assured to push through are chess and taekwondo and/or poomsae.

The league aims to hold a skills competition only for basketball and volleyball, and a beach volleyball tourney, but these are still for approval of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

“We have chess since it’s online, it will be telecasted. We have taekwondo, poomsae, and other online taekwondo tournaments. This is in coordination with the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA). They really volunteered their resources for this,” shared Calvo.

“Possibly, volleyball and basketball but for skills competition only like the slam dunk contest. There’s also a proposal for beach volleyball.”

Calvo added that the management committee has already ruled out the plan to hold a semi-bubble or a full-bubble for the competition since it’s too costly and risky, especially with the spike of Covid-19 cases in the country.

But the league isn’t about to just cancel season 96, which was supposed to start last year, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that also cut the season 95 short.

“We don’t give up because the NCAA embodies the Filipino resiliency and perseverance. It’s easy for us to say that the season is already done. That’s the easiest route to take.

“That’s not our line of thinking. Despite the hardships, we have to show the nation that we can do this. We have to be creative.”

Calvo added that the oldest collegiate league in the country decided to push through so some student-athletes can regain their scholarships, and for the coaches to have jobs again.

“We’re doing this for the student athletes and for the coaches to have jobs again.”