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    NCAA looking to stage season via Recto area, Intramuros bubbles

    Dec 6, 2020

    NCAA is already open to the possibility of holding its upcoming season in a bubble concept.

    The league's management committee (Mancom) chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of host Letran told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala that it is already exploring the possibility of staging the upcoming Season 96 under a confined environment.

    "We've made a committee studying the bubble concept. Nakita natin sa PBA and sa ibang international events na very successful," he said as the league pushes its planned resumption from the first quarter of 2021 to as early as April next year.

    What makes the NCAA bubble unique is the prospect of having different bubbles per sport, with the member-schools hosting specific disciplines inside their own confines.

    "Because of budget constraints, pwedeng gawing school-based," said Calvo.

    Under the proposal, neighbor schools such as Letran, Lyceum, and Mapua in the Intramuros area, as well as San Beda, San Sebastian, and Arellano in Recto area can host their own bubbles with players being housed inside the campus. Games can be played in school gyms, he said.

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    All member schools have their own gyms to host the games while Lyceum, with Bayleaf Hotel, and St. Benilde, with Hotel Benilde Maison de La Salle, can serve as lodging for the players, on top of the classrooms which can be converted into temporary dormitories.

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    "Magkakalapit lang yan eh. So pwede ring school-based siya na sa school yung players at i-apply natin dun yung bubble principle. More or less, ganoon yung idea," said Calvo.

    Also part of the discussion is doing a setup similar to what was done in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year, where athletes will be housed in an academy-type environment like New Clark City, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, and Philsports Arena.

    "We are also contemplating 'yung SEA Games model, na everything in two to three weeks," added Calvo. "Yung swimming at track and field, walang problem doon kasi how many days lang yun, madaling gawin yun. Whatever is practical and foremost consideration namin yung safety ng student-athletes."

    The NCAA has announced that only the four mandatory sports, namely basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field, will be played for Season 96.

    Part of those talks, Calvo added, will be the mandatory testing for everyone who will enter the bubbles, one which is currently being studied by the NCAA's competition committee.

    "We will follow all the guidelines and protocols ng IATF. But we'll wait for the recommendation of the NCAA committee when it comes to the bubble concept," Calvo said.

    Aside from the four sports, online chess has also been approved to be played next season, while the possibility of adding esports in the competition calendar remains in discussion.

    "Sa ngayon, ang confirmed pa lang is chess and we have to identify pa yung others, but depende pa sa study ng committee," he said.

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