NCAA opens Season 96 today

Published June 13, 2021, 2:57 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Photo from NCAA

Despite the continuing struggles due to the pandemic, the NCAA wants to set an example in the new normal.

Resilient in its mission to showcase the talent of young Filipino athletes, the country’s oldest collegiate league kicks off with an extravagant opening ceremony for NCAA Season 96 on its new broadcast partner GMA Network at 5:30p.m. Sunday, June 13.

With the theme “Rise Up Stronger” for this season 96, Policy Board President Fr. Rector Clarence Victor C. Marquez, OP of host Letran said they want to show that even in these difficult times, people can still do things and that is what the NCAA wants to showcase this year.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic shut us down last year, the NCAA has resolved to move forward and to carry the good fight, for our love of the game,” said Marquez as the season coincides with Letran’s celebration of its 400th year.

“GMA Network, the NCAA, and all our member school communities, our student-athletes, shall all rise up stronger, shall boldly and bravely face the challenges of the new normal in collegiate athletic competition and sports broadcast.”

It is the only collegiate league to open its season despite the pandemic.

Action starts Monday, June 14 with taekwondo poomsae in the men’s and women’s divisions, followed by a Speed Kicking tournament – a new competition designed by the Philippine Taekwondo Association for NCAA Season 96.

The games will be aired at 2:45 p.m. on weekdays, 4:30 every Saturday, and 5:05 every Sunday on GTV. Kapuso abroad can catch all the action via GMA Pinoy TV and GMA News TV.

Also approved by the NCAA is online chess, and possibly the ‘hybrid’ skills challenge for basketball and volleyball.

NCAA Season 96 Management Committee (MANCOM) Chairman Rev. Fr. Victor Calvo Jr., OP, from Letran, said that pushing with Season 96 is important since it also delivers a message of hope.

“The NCAA would like to show the creativity and resilience of the Filipinos, especially in the pandemic. We don’t give up – that’s the message we want to deliver,” he said.

“We have to adjust to the situation and make the most of it.”

To usher in the start of the new season, a special opening program will be aired on GTV featuring athletes from 10 schools – Letran, Arellano University, Letran, Mapua, La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jose Rizal University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, San Beda University, San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA.

Hosting the “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96 Opening Ceremony” are Kapuso artists Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos, with co-hosts are Martin Javier and Sophia Senoron, who served as hosts of the NCAA primer, “Rise Up Stronger: The Road to NCAA Season 96.”

Marquez will provide the opening remarks, while Calvo will lead the prayer with a virtual participation of students from 10-member schools giving words of hope and encouragement.

This season’s Oath of Sportsmanship will be also extra-special as Letran Knights basketball team captain Jeo Ambohot takes the lead in a virtual oath taking of the student-athletes from different parts of the country.

Joining the athletes are the biggest and the brightest GMA Network.

Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha leads the singing of the Philippine National Anthem during the opening ceremonies. Superb performances from some of the country’s most promising singers await viewers: Soul Diva Aicelle Santos as well as young singer-actress Kyline Alcantara, to name a few.