BASKETBALL and volleyball competitions remain in the mind of the NCAA brass as it approaches its upcoming Season 96.
"Hindi kumpleto pag walang basketball at volleyball. Hinahanapan pa rin natin ng butas," NCAA Management Committee (Mancom) chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of hosts Letran said during Tuesday's online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
But the staging of the flagship team sports will depend on the clearances that will be given by the relevant government agencies, led by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
That's why for now, the oldest collegiate league is making do with its virtual, skills-based competitions such as dribbling and shooting -- all of which are done in the confines of the players' homes -- on top of online chess and taekwondo.
Hope, however, remains high especially with the vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic already being inoculated to the public.
"Sabi nga nila, pag may vaccine na, game-changer. Tingin ko matutuloy din kasi CHED talaga ang pinaka-crucial. Nagwo-work hand-in-hand ang mga agency," said Calvo.
As for when these traditional competitions may resume is still up in the air, but the officials reiterate that the athletic calendar for this special season remain flexible for whatever eventualities -- especially with Season 97 currently pencilled to start by September.
"Yung schedule namin is flowing," said Mancom member Peter Cayco of Arellano.
"We're just waiting for the go signal. Pag naka-start na kami, the prudent thing is we adjust [the start of] Season 97. Kung mag-open ang Season 97 at tsaka kami mabigyan ng go signal, we'll play the basketball competitions sa Season 97. Madali na yan once makakuha kami ng permiso. We can plot it very well."
Calvo added, "Flexible yan. Kung mag-decide ang Mancom at Policy Board na pwede ipasok ang basketball [this Season 96], we can always have the next season by January."
What's important for the NCAA at this point is to show that it's not willing to bow down to the fight against the pandemic, with the league putting up the theme of Rise Up Stronger for this season.
"Flexible tayo dahil nasa new normal tayo. It's a new situation so ine-emphasize ko lagi yung resiliency, na kailangan mag-adjust tayo," said Calvo. "Iba na ngayon, we need to have a paradigm shift when it comes to sports. Nagawa na namin sa chess at taekwondo. Madali nang gawin para sa iba."
"Importante sa amin na may season kahit na maiksi lang."
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