The country’s first athletic league—the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) —shows resilience amid the pandemic as it kicks off a fresh season on its new home, GMA Network, with “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” this Sunday, June 13.
Following health and safety protocols, “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” showcases the world-class talent of young Filipino student-athletes from the 10-member schools led by this season’s host, Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
Season 96 Policy Board President Fr. Rector Clarence Victor C. Marquez, OP of Colegio de San Juan de Letran emphasized the significance of opening the new season of NCAA during these challenging times, hence this season’s theme, “Rise Up Stronger.” “Since the COVID-19 pandemic shut us down last year, the NCAA—the Philippines’ first and longest-running collegiate athletic competition—has resolved to move forward and to carry the good fight, for our love of the game. GMA Network, the NCAA, and all our member school communities, our student-athletes, our fans, shall all rise up stronger, shall boldly and bravely face the challenges of the new normal in collegiate athletic competition and sports broadcast.”
NCAA Season 96 Management Committee Chairman Rev. Fr. Victor Calvo Jr., OP, from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, shared the importance of pushing with Season 96. “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. We have to adjust to the situation and make the most of it,” he said.
Working hand-in-hand with the league is its new broadcast partner GMA Network.
“We are grateful to the NCAA for their confidence in GMA Network as their new home and to our student-athletes for keeping the passion for sports alive,” said GMA Regional TV and Synergy First Vice President and Head Oliver Victor Amoroso. “After months of preparation, we are finally unfolding NCAA Season 96. We are excited to start the next phase of our partnership with NCAA. Season 96 officially kicks off with the GMA-produced opening ceremony that is apt and fitting to NCAA, a premiere collegiate sports league. We are rising to the challenge of showcasing world-class talents of our Filipino student-athletes while still adhering to the health and safety protocols. Season 96 puts forth an awareness that there is more to NCAA than institutional achievements as it continues to provide thousands of young Filipino athletes the opportunity to achieve their dreams and become the best version of themselves,” he added.
And to usher in the start of the new season, a special opening program will be aired on GTV featuring NCAA Season 96 athletes from 10-member schools—Arellano University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jose Rizal University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mapua University, San Beda University, San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA.
Hosting “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96 Opening Ceremony” are real-life couple Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos. Joining them as 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.”
Fr. Rector Clarence Marquez will provide the opening remarks and welcome the viewers to the Opening Ceremony of NCAA Season 96 while Fr. Victor Calvo, Jr. will lead a solemn 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 Kapuso stars. 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, young singer-actress Kyline Alcantara, The Clash Seasons 2 and 3 Grand Champions Jeremiah Tiangco and Jessica Villarubin, Kapuso OST Princess Hannah Precillas, and The Clash alumni Anthony Rosaldo, Thea Astley, and Sheemee Buenaobra.
Meanwhile, representing the participating NCAA schools as flag bearer and muse are Ralph Troy Noriega and Angela Alarcon for Arellano University; Kimson Tan and Pam Prinster for De La Salle-College of St. Benilde; Caloy Tingcungco and Ysabel Ortega for Emilio Aguinaldo College; Kim de Leon and Lexi Gonzales for Jose Rizal University; Brent Valdez and Kyline Alcantara for Lyceum of the Philippines University; Gab Yabut and Ayra Mariano for Mapua University; Manolo Pedrosa and Crystal Paras for San Beda University; Jamir Zabarte and Zonia Mejia for San Sebastian College-Recoletos; Jeremy Sabido and Shaira Diaz for University of Perpetual Help System DALTA; and Radson Flores and Mikee Quintos for Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights.
Beginning this Monday (June 14), sports fans can catch the Taekwondo Poomsae in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions to be followed by a Speed Kicking tournament, a new competition designed by the Philippine Taekwondo Association for NCAA Season 96. Anton Roxas, one of the country’s premier sports commentators, is set to give viewers a blow-by-blow account of every game as well as its highlights.
Prior to the opening of Season 96, GMA Network, via GMA Synergy, launched the NCAA primer, “Rise Up Stronger: The Road to NCAA Season 96,” hosted by Martin and Sophia. The show gave viewers fun and heart-warming stories and experiences of NCAA athletes, coaches, and the league’s distinguished alumni.
“Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” airs weekdays at 2:45 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m., and Sundays at 5:05 p.m. on GTV. Kapuso abroad can catch all the action via GMA Pinoy TV and GMA News TV.
Meanwhile, the NCAA Philippines mobile app has also been released this month and is now available on Google and Apple App Stores.
For more updates on NCAA, visit its official website www.ncaa.com.ph. Follow @ncaaphilippines, @gmasynergy, and @gmasports on social media.
For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit www.gmanetwork.com.