NCAA looks at 3X3 as season opener
The NCAA is ready to put its plan to become the country’s No. 1 collegiate league in motion and hopes to do so with 3X3 basketball as the starting point.
An insider in the league’s management committee (Mancom) revealed this on Sunday, saying the streetball hoops format provides brief and TV-ready competitions and is easily put under biosecure conditions.
“It’s like testing the waters,” the source said of opening with the popular half-court basketball event, which the Mancom expects to stage in only three days’ time.
The Mancom, another Inquirer source had earlier revealed, has been holding weekly meetings hammering out mechanics and health protocols for its next season, which the league hopes to launch by the middle of next year. The lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic has the NCAA looking at staging an entire season inside a bubble.
Basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field are the only sports to be staged in Season 96 of the country’s oldest athletic meet.
Basketball alone, according to league officials, could take six to eight weeks to stage, and would entail extensive preparation.
The NCAA has recently sought the help of the PBA on bubble league components like testing, holding practices and games, as well as billeting and transportation.The PBA had successfully finished its Philippine Cup inside a restricted zone at Clark Freeport.
A source told the Inquirer that financing the bubble would be the biggest hurdle for the NCAA, with the league deciding if it will risk some of its fresh TV revenues to create its own biosecure tournament.
The NCAA recently signed a five-year TV deal with GMA.
“The team-up with the country’s first athletic league is very much meaningful for us in GMA. We are looking forward to show everyone the world-class talent of our young FIlipino athletes,” said GMA Network chair and CEO Felipe Gozon in a statement.
Fr. Vic Calvo of host Letran said the new deal pushes the league into a position to battle the UAAP for collegiate sports supremacy.
“We believe that with GMA’s reach and platforms, the NCAA will be the undisputed number one collegiate league in the country,” Calvo said.
The PBA spent about P65 million to stage its bubble season, which lasted almost two and a half months.
An initial plan of the league is to revert to the old format of dividing the teams to two groups with the top four teams clashing in the semifinals. This would cut the schedule significantly and lower the costs of a bubble.Teams will be quartered in their respective campuses and elimination games will be played in bubble centers to be put up in Intramuros and Mendiola areas.
For Intramuros, it’s either Letran or Lyceum, while it’s tossup between San Beda and Arellano for Mendiola. INQ
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