NCAA looking to hold Season 97 under bubble setup

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THE National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is planning to hold Season 97 by January with basketball and volleyball events to be played under a bubble format.

League officials are currently in talks with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which already advised the pioneering colleague league in the country to write a formal letter before the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) this early about its planned bubble season expected to be staged outside of Metro Manila.

Arellano University’s Peter Cayco, a member of the NCAA Management Committee, confirmed the plans being made by the league, which is looking to return to some semblance of normalcy with the holding of college sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is really rising to the challenge, a motto that we have always embraced this pandemic,” said Cayco.

Subic Bay tops the list of the venues being eyed by the NCAA to hold both basketball and volleyball tournaments, with surrounding hotels already signifying intentions to host a contingent that could number to as high as 800.

Community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) has been lowered under Alert Level 3 starting Saturday, although holding of indoor contact sports remains prohibited.

“Our concern is that if we stage it in Metro Manila, and (COVID-19) case rises, it would hamper our schedule,” Cayco added, noting the same experience the PBA went through during its season, when it began the Philippine Cup in Ynares Sports Center in Pasig, only to transfer later on in Bacolor, Pampanga after active cases suddenly rose within the National Capital Region (NCR).

© Provided by SPIN.ph NCAA Philippines

St. Benilde will be host of NCAA Season 97.

The CHED also offered to help the league have its student populace vaccinated against COVID-19, although member schools have said most of its students above 18 have already been inoculated.

Letran hosted NCAA Season 96 in which competitions were held virtually in only two sports – chess and taekwondo.

It initially planned to stage both basketball and volleyball events in a bubble, but failed to push through during the shortened season.

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