It's all systems go for the opening of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 96 on June 13, with the theme 'Rise Up Stronger'.
"This is one of the best, if not the best opening the NCAA has in its history," said NCAA Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP of host Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) online forum on Tuesday.
"Our situation calls for creativity. Our resiliency brings the best out of us. Others have given up already, understandably, due to the difficulties. We'll make sure that this is our best opening."
Taking center stage in this special season of the oldest collegiate league in the country are only online events like chess and taekwondo (speed kicking, poomsae).
The proposed skills challenge for volleyball and basketball is still pending for the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), but Calvo believes the NCAA will get the go signal to hold it.
"I believe it will push through, especially with vaccine rollout. We're pushing for the vaccination campaign (in the NCAA)."
Calvo emphasized the need for a mindset change when it comes to holding sports events like what the NCAA is doing right now to adapt to the new normal induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We need to adjust. The problem with our sports people is that they want the setup before but it's different now. You have to have a paradigm shift when it comes to sports and you really have to be flexible. We have to really take a leap of faith. This is a calculated risk. We know this is safe."
Calvo added that most of the events have already been recorded and are now ready for viewing on NCAA's TV broadcast partner GMA Network, through its GTV channel.
"When it comes to the presentation, it's as if we're doing it live and there are commentators and analysts especially in chess. "
But should the situation get better and contact sports be allowed, the NCAA is ready to go full blast.
"We are set for full blast, for face-to-face games, but of course we need to have the approval of the relevant government agencies. We're ready, just give us the go signal and we'll transition to face-to-face games," said Management Committee member Peter Cayco of Arellano University.