THE country’s oldest collegiate league, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), is gearing up for the opening of Season 97 as officials are looking at holding face-to-face competitions in basketball and volleyball in February next year.

After successfully staging Season 96 with different online tournaments by host school Letran, next season’s host College of St. Benilde is looking at holding the games physically.

NCAA Management Committee (MANCOM) incoming chairman Dax Castellano said on Friday that the league is already in the planning stage for its calendar for Season 97.

“The resumption of competition is in February. We agreed on the level of the Management Committee (to do face-to-face), but still we need the approval from the Policy Board,” said Castellano during a press conference held at Letran College in Intramuros, Manila.

“We agreed to do it with basketball and volleyball and some online events. We’ll do face-to-face basketball and volleyball,” he added.

The MANCOM decision to seriously consider face-to-face games was solidified by the vaccination program of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), which initiated a two-day vaccination for NCAA student-athletes that started last Thursday at the Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong City.

Letran was the vaccination site of CHED’s “Padyak Tungo sa Flexible Learning: Sama-samang Vaccination Program” in preparation for the face-to-face classes and future tournaments.

“We would like to access all the vaccines to as many students, officials and administrators so we can slowly go back to the old normal,” CHED commissioner Ronald Adamat told the same media briefing attended by NCAA Policy Board president for Season 96, Rev. Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, OP, of Letran.

CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jaro said that the guidelines for face-to-face training of student-athletes are still being finalized by the department and should be ready anytime this year.

“There are additional considerations or provisions that we have to integrate to the other guidelines. Now that the supply of vaccines is consistent, we’ll incorporate the guidelines for the vaccinated athletes and unvaccinated athletes,” Jaro said.

Outgoing MANCOM chairman, Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran said that some 100 student-athletes of the NCAA participated in the two-day CHED vaccination program, most of them were from the provinces who returned to Manila. 

“We have student-athletes who were vaccinated already. I think from the 10 schools, 90 percent were vaccinated already from the different LGUs the previous months,” Calvo said.

Aside from Castellano and Calvo, also present during the second day of the vaccination of CHED were Arellano University’s Peter Cayco, Paul Supan of JRU, Fr. Glynn Ortega, OAR of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Atty. Jonas Cabochan of San Beda University, Estefanio Boquiron, Jr. of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Hercules Callanta of Lyceum of the Philippines University, Melchor Divina of Mapua University and Frank Gusi of University of Perpetual Help System DALTA. 

During the previous Season 96 of the NCAA, only online games were played as approved by the league, which were shown on GTV channel 11 of GMA Network—the league’s new broadcast partner.

St. Benilde dominated the men’s and women’s speed kicking events of taekwondo, while San Beda toped the juniors side. San Beda also ruled in the seniors’ poomsae event, while Emilio Aguinaldo College swept the juniors competition.

Lyceum of the Philippines University won the seniors’ chess meet courtesy of Neymark Digno, while Letran turned to FIDE Master Christian Mark Daluz to emerge victorious in the juniors’ side.

Letran’s Mikaela Lopez had a successful comeback by copping the volleyball skills challenge plum, while LPU’s Kim Cinco took the basketball skills challenge trophy.

Image courtesy of PD ROMERO





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