It looks like NCAA officials are seriously considering holding a bubble tournament for Season 96 next year.
Members of the league’s Management Committee (MANCOM) are set to meet with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial Thursday afternoon in hopes of getting crucial information on the pro league’s successful staging of a bubble in the recent Philippine Cup in Clark, Pampanga.
“Tignan natin kung anong mapag-usapan,” said NCAA MANCOM chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Season 96 host Letran.
The meeting is set to take place in Letran, and Marcial said he is willing to provide the league the blueprint that led to the PBA’s success in holding a bubble tournament which lasted for two months with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel emerging as champion by beating TNT Tropang Giga in the Finals.
According to Marcial, the PBA is actually willing to help all leagues that plan to stage a tournament under strict health protocols due to COVID-19.
“Dapat naman talaga tulung tulong tayo, kung kailangan ng NCAA ang advice or tips kung paano namin ginawa, tutulong kami sa kanila. Bigyan namin sila ng detalye kung ano ang guidelines, paano ang testing,practice, games ng mga teams,” said Marcial.
“At hindi lang sa NCAA, kung merong ibang liga na gusto kami kausapin for advice, willing ang PBA to share kung ano yung naging experience namin, kung paano namin pinatakbo yung tournament under strict health measures.”
As the oldest collegiate league in the country, NCAA officials have initially mentioned that they are looking at holding Season 96 sometime in March 2021 with only four traditional sports to be played.
These are basketball, volleyball, swimming and athletics.
The opening of Season 96 was supposed to happen last August but because of the pandemic and locdown in Metro Manila, the opening was pushed back to the first quarter of next year while other events were already cancelled.
However, holding a bubble tournament would bring some kind of normalcy if these students-athletes would be given an opportunity to still play this Season 96, although – as mentioned by Calvo before – they want to make sure it is safe.
Meanwhile, the NCAA is set to formalize its partnership with giant TV network GMA-7 as the two ink officially a five-year contract Thursday afternoon.
The league’s Policy Board awarded GMA-7 a five-year deal that will start with Season 96 and end with the NCAA’s centennial celebration of 100 years in school year 2024-25.