The Bleachers


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 96 that faced a yearlong postponement and began in the middle of a global pandemic, now came to their conclusion after two months through a virtual ceremony aired on GTV, GMA Network last Sunday.

/ 9 August 2021

The intimate closing ceremony of the league’s unique season and dubbed as “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” was led by Season 96 Policy Board President and Colegio de San Juan de Letran President and Rector Fr. Clarence Victor C. Marquez, OP.

“Admittedly, it has been a challenging season as we joined the rest of the world in confronting this pandemic—enduring death, disease, and other difficulties; continuing with whatever remains of our plans and offering our courageous response, our wonderful hope to our member school communities, to our student-athletes, and to our fans,” said NCAA Policy Board president and Letran rector Fr. Clarence Marquez.

“By pushing through and completing this special Season 96, we have made the NCAA to rise together stronger than ever, more relevant and ready for the next chapter of our history,” said Fr. Marquez.

The NCAA Season 96 kicked off last June 13, aiming to put into the spotlight the student-athletes from the 10 member-schools Arellano University (AU), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL), De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), José Rizal University (JRU), Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), Mapua University (MU), San Beda University (SBU), San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSCR), and University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (UPHSD).

Following the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) health and safety guidelines, the league pushed through with a pure non-contact sports slate, including taekwondo, virtual chess, and basketball and volleyball skills challenges.

After making history as the first collegiate athletic league in the country to successfully conduct a sports tournament in the time of the pandemic, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde is now ready to take the NCAA baton from Letran for Season 97.

“We have seen how Filipinos strive and persist despite many challenges. The grit, passion and commitment to do what is necessary to win and achieve our goals are especially evident in the stories of our athletes,” said incoming NCAA Policy Board president and College of St. Benilde president Edmundo Fernandez.

“With united spirits, let us continue to train and inspire our students to use their gifts and abilities, and strive to build our nation. May the next season be a year of extraordinary unity for all of our schools and nation.”

The COVID-emptied ceremony held inside the NCAA Studio of Champions inside the GMA Network Center was attended by NCAA Management Committee members led by chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Letran, Peter Cayco of Arellano, Dax Castellano of St. Benilde, Paul Supan of Jose Rizal University, Fr. Glynn Ortega of San Sebastian, Atty. Jonas Cabochan of San Beda, Atty. Melchor Divina of Mapua, Frank Gusi of Perpetual, Herc Callanta of Lyceum, and Estefanio Boquiron, Jr. of Emilio Aguinaldo College.

“Once again, the NCAA has made history by becoming the first collegiate athletic league in the Philippines to safely hold a sports tournament in the time of pandemic. Keeping the spirit of sportsmanship alive during these trying times is a necessary message that promotes unity and hope. That when we all come together, we can all rise up stronger,” said GMA Network Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon.