With a theme “Reimagine Sports: Engage, Empower, Enable,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) South aims to restore the usual routine in sports competitions as it kicked-off the 23rd season of the conference, with De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) as the host school, streamed via Youtube and Facebook, Nov. 24.
To gradually bring back the old normal in sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, the DLSL Sports and Development Office (SDO) divided this year’s season into three phases.
The first phase of the tournament is the Virtual Skills Competition, an online skills competition where the athletes showcase their abilities in performing the skills required for each sport.
It will be held via Zoom and is scheduled tentatively from December 2021 to February 2022.
There will be nine sports events in the Virtual Skills Competition: badminton, basketball, chess, football, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, physical conditioning, and an esports tournament for Mobile Legends.
Similarly, the tournament’s second phase will be another individual skills competition but will be conducted face-to-face around April to June 2022 on DLSL Sentrum.
”Hopefully, the situation will be a lot better by then, and we will [be able to] start the in-person skills competition. Most likely, the venue [for this] would be the Sentrum,” said J. Rex Atienza, SDO Director.
Lastly, the third phase will include the face-to-face Friendly Game Weekend Bubble, a short tournament of regular games wherein each team will have a minimum of two and a maximum of four games.
The games will be played on a particular schedule on the weekend and are expected to take place from June to July 2022.
Meanwhile, the games that will occur in the bubble are still not decided due to the changes in the pandemic situation and will require further discussion among the sports committee from each participating school.
In a press conference held last Nov. 17, Atienza mentioned that the reason for the partition of the phases was to ensure that the competition could move smoothly from one stage to the next while considering the conditions and guidelines set by the local and national government.
”Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, there is nothing certain, so we’ll move from one phase to another as the conditions and the regulations would allow us,” Atienza said.
Atienza also stated that Phases 2 and 3 of the competition would only be open to college students to consider the age requirement restrictions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
Moreover, Atienza also mentioned that DLSL has over 400 varsity athletes who will compete in the NCAA South tournament.
Nick Arman Abella, a DLSL volleyball men’s team member, shared their adjustments while consistently following the online sports program “At Home with Green Stallions,” designed to keep their bodies in shape for this conference.
“We’re tasked to perform the assigned training program na ginawa ni coach [since lockdown], and we can guarantee naman na ibibigay namin yung best namin kasi confident kami na 100% prepared kami para sa upcoming NCAA,” Abella said.
The eleven NCAA South member schools who will compete in this year’s tournament include Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba, Emilio Aguinaldo College (Cavite), First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (Tanauan), Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas, Philippine Christian University (Dasmariñas), San Beda College Alabang, San Pablo Colleges (San Pablo City), Trace College (Los Baños), University of Batangas, University of Perpetual Help System Laguna, and host school DLSL.