NCAA to start 97th Season with practices in January
Taking after the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) breakthrough “closed-circuit” Philippine Cup a few months back, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is looking to begin its 97th season with a training phase that is on a dorm-to-training venue basis tentatively set to start on Jan. 3.
The country’s oldest collegiate league is leveling up its pandemic-era season from online sports and select special events last year to face-to-face competitions in men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.
“We are just awaiting the approval from the CHEd (Commission on Higher Education) to formally start training. But we have a date set already,” said Arellano University’s Peter Cayco of the NCAA management committee.
To be hosted by St. Benilde, this season will employ a PBA-style format where it will limit the movements of the student athletes in between training.
Actual competitions will take on a similar format, with select venues for competitions, so players don’t get exposed to anyone outside the bubble.
That was what the PBA employed when it staged its Philippine Cup early this year and another version the year before in a more stringent full bubble in Angeles City, Pampanga.
“The important thing is that our players will have started training already early next year,” said Cayco, whose Chiefs will be billeted at their Legarda campus gym which has its own sporting facilities.
Letran, last year’s host, will be making a much bigger adjustment because its training camp will be off-campus and players will have to be transported every time for practice and back.
If all health guidelines are met, the league is looking at formally starting its season by the end of February, marking the first time a collegiate league would rise over the pandemic challenge.
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