NCAA has ambitious bubble plans for Season 96; UAAP targets September opening
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) plans to stage its next season in a bubble, and has asked the advice of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) on how they pulled it off.
Officials of the NCAA had a meeting with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on Thursday to obtain some valuable pointers on how to hold its 96th season next year in a contained environment amid the threat of COVID-19.
“We really should be helping each other, we are willing to help not just the NCAA, but any league that reaches out to us,” Marcial said. “We will share our experience; how we ran the tournament under strict health measures.”
The PBA chief also gave out guidelines on testing, practice schedules and teams movements.
Asia’s first pro league wrapped up a historic conference two weeks with Barangay Ginebra winning the most unique Philippine Cup in history.
The NCAA is pushing through with four sports, namely track and field, swimming, basketball and volleyball next year to enable member schools to focus on just a few events.
But before that, the league will hold online events for other sports, according to the NCAA management committee.
Management committee head Fr. Vic Calvo of host Colegio de San Juan de Letran said they are also finalizing the TV coverage plans, which touches off a five-year deal with GMA 7.
Meanwhile, the rival University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) also on Thursday inked a similar five-year deal with Cignal, which will telecast its games over One Sports starting with the opening of Season 84 in September, if the health situation improves.
“Our target will be the default traditional opening of September 2021,” said lawyer Rebo Saguisag, the UAAP executive director. “That is if the vaccines are here or the situation has improved. So that’s our target.”
Telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan said he and his group will try to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the student-athletes of the UAAP if it becomes available.
“If we could procure a vaccine, we will try to get for you … we could certainly allocate some to the UAAP,” Pangilinan said. —With a report from Bong Lozada
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