The class is in session for another season of collegiate hoops.
The mid-year normally marks the start of the academic calendar for colleges and universities in the Philippines. And for basketball fans, the months of July and September mean that the collegiate basketball season is on.
In the Philippines, collegiate basketball has a realm of its own. The NCAA and UAAP present a different vibe of competitive basketball, and both have gained their own following and fanbase.
First up is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which opened its 94th season yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Hosted this year by the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD), the NCAA is country’s oldest collegiate athletic association comprised of ten member schools.
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), composed of eight institutions, follows suit tentatively on September 8 with Season 81. The National University (NU) takes its turn as the host for the 2018-2019 season.
So what are the tell-tale signs that the collegiate basketball season is in the air? Here are some of the “traditions”.
Schools hold pep rallies
As a send-off to their athletes, universities hold pep rallies prior to the start of the first trimester events. A parade of athletes around campus kicks off the UAAP or NCAA season for each school. The pep rally aims to boost support and involvement of the student body, as various sports teams start their campaign in their respective disciplines.
Auditions for courtside reporters
Marking the beginning of every UAAP or NCAA season is the call for auditions for aspiring courtside reporters. These reporters are tasked to deliver pre-game and in-game updates for the schools they represent. With the tenures of these reporters ranging from one to two years, auditions are regularly rolled out during summer breaks in time for the basketball season.
Issues on player eligibilities and transferees crop out
Scrutinized at the beginning of every collegiate season are the eligibility requirements of new players, as well as the credentials of transferees. Residency and documentary requirements are checked for every rookie and transferee prior to the submission of team lineups. Surprises are always in store in between seasons as schools battle for new recruits.
Search for referees
Various referee groups have officiated games for the UAAP and NCAA. Referees from NABRO, BARECOM and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) have been tapped by the collegiate leagues in the past upon the recommendation of the commissioner.
Search for a Commissioner
The commissioner’s role is a revolving door for college hoops. Depending on the host school, a sitting commissioner can either be retained or replaced. On his second year, in-charge of NCAA Season 94 is its commissioner, former San Sebastian and Perpetual Help head coach Arturo “Bai” Cristobal. For the past two seasons, the UAAP has tapped Atty. Rebo Saguisag as its basketball commissioner.