The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) returns stronger than ever as it ushers in Season 97 with the grand opening ceremonies this Saturday, March 26, 2022 simulcast on GMA and GTV, and the return of face-to-face contact sports on GTV.
Hosted by the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, this season marks the much-awaited return of the Men’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball tournaments, as well as the online chess and taekwondo matches.
NCAA Season 97 Management Committee Chairman Manuel Raymund Castellano, Jr. of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde looks forward to hosting this season’s collegiate sports event.
“For two years, we’ve been waiting for contact sports to return, and we’re excited to have basketball and volleyball games back. And for this year, we continue to hold online chess and online taekwondo tournaments. The preparations are still very challenging with the pandemic situation, but with the support of GMA, I know this will be a successful season,” shared Castellano.
Joining Castellano in the opening ceremonies are the members of the NCAA Management Committee: Pedro Cayco (Arellano University); Fr. Victor Calvo, Jr., OP (Colegio de San Juan de Letran); Estefanio Boquiron, Jr. (Emilio Aguinaldo College); Efren Jose Supan (José Rizal University); Hercules Callanta (Lyceum of the Philippines University); Melchor Divina (Mapúa University); Atty. Jonas Cabochan (San Beda University); Fr. Glynn Ortega, OAR (San Sebastian College-Recoletos); and Francisco Gusi, Jr. (University of Perpetual Help System DALTA).
“We are more than excited to bring the new season of the NCAA to our Kapuso viewers here and abroad,” said GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon in his message. “Despite the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, the NCAA, in close coordination with GMA Synergy, soldiered on and successfully staged a unique season of sporting events last year. We also would like to extend our warm welcome to the hard-working student-athletes and wish them well in all their competitions. As home to the country’s first athletic league, GMA Network fully supports the NCAA in showcasing their world-class talent. This NCAA Season 97, we are indeed ‘Stronger Together. Buo ang Puso.”
In 2021, together with its official broadcast partner GMA Network, NCAA made history as the first collegiate athletic league in the Philippines to safely hold a sports tournament in the time of the pandemic, showing the remarkable resilience of Filipinos, especially of the student-athletes during Season 96.
“Following a very good synergy between the NCAA’s Mancom and Policy Board and GMA, represented by the Synergy group, we were able to come up with an unprecedented Season 96 which allowed us to highlight what the NCAA is all about – the athletes and the people behind the league,” said GMA Regional TV and Synergy First Vice President and Head Oliver Victor Amoroso.
“For sure, viewers will be very excited for Season 97 with the return of the face-to-face physical games. We’ve already seen the athletes on bubble training at nakita natin ‘yung commitment and passion nila to return inside the court and to be seen by a wider audience through GMA and GTV. That’s something that we all should look forward to. GMA has the widest reach in the country both on free TV and digital, so this is the best way to showcase their world-class talents. We are also seeing this season as an all-Filipino tournament. Walang imports. Dito makikita ang mga atleta who are not just from Manila, but from the different parts of the Philippines as well. That’s what makes this season different,” he added.
Priming Kapuso viewers here and abroad for the action-packed Season 97 is the GMA Synergy-produced ‘Game On!’ –a six-episode daily show which airs beginning March 20. Hosted by Martin Javier and Sophia Senoron, ‘Game On’ features NCAA athletes, coaches, and sports analysts’ expectations and forecasts in Season 97.
Finally on March 26, NCAA basketball rivalry ignites anew as the start of Season 97 Men’s Basketball tournament follows after the Opening Ceremonies.
Opening day match ups feature NCAA Season 95 Men’s Basketball Champions the Letran Knights going up against the CSB Blazers in the first game at 3:30 PM, and the San Beda Red Lions clashing with the LPU Pirates at 7:05 PM live on GTV.
The “Stronger Together. Buo ang Puso: NCAA Season 97 Opening Ceremonies,” which airs on GMA after Eat Bulaga, is hosted by Ms. Universe Philippines 2020 and new Kapuso Rabiya Mateo, Manolo Pedrosa, and NCAA hosts Martin Javier and Sophia Senoron. Joining them are NCAA anchorman Anton Roxas and Season 97 courtside reporters Ann Gabriel, Avia Zunic, Chantal Laude, Aya De Quiroz, Chloe Carillo, Chase Orozco, Christiana Dimaunahan, Eden Hernandez, Lance Santiago, Michelle Naldo, Sofia Rodelas, Christian Sebastian, and Baileys Acot.
The Opening Ceremonies shines even brighter with performance from some of the biggest Kapuso stars led by Asia’s Limitless Star Julie Anne San Jose, Garrett Bolden, Thea Astley, Jessica Villarubin, Mariane Osabel, Jeremiah Tiangco, Nef Medina, Vilmark Viray, and Anthony Rosaldo.
Further displaying world-class Filipino talent is Asia’s Got Talent first season winner and male shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra. Rallying behind the student-athletes are the NCAA Season 97 Cheerleaders.
The Season 97 Opening Ceremonies also honor some of the country’s sports legends who are proud products of the NCAA. These include CJ Perez (LPU); Marvin Hayes (JRU); Caloy Loyzaga (posthumous, SBU); Francis Munsayac (EAC); Maria Aresa Lipat (CSB); Michael Saguiguit (UPHSD); Freddie Webb (CSJL); Coach Roger Gorayeb (SSCR); Jiovani Jalalon (AU); and Chito Victolero (MU).
Don’t miss ‘Stronger Together. Buo ang Puso: NCAA Season 97 Opening Ceremonies’ on March 26 at 2:30 PM simulcast on GMA and GTV. The first set of live games follows at 3:30 PM between CSB Blazers vs Letran Knights and 7:05 PM between San Beda Red Lions vs LPU Pirates on GTV.
The NCAA Season 97 live games air every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to Sunday at 12:00 NN on GTV with replays every Monday and Thursday at 3:00 PM on GTV. It will also be streamed on the NCAA Philippines website (www.gmanetwork.com/ncaa), NCAA Philippines Facebook page and YouTube channel, and GMA Sports’ Facebook and Twitter pages. Kapuso abroad can catch all the action via GMA Pinoy TV.
More updates on and off court are available via the NCAA Season 97 primer, ‘Game On! airing at 10:30 AM on GTV starting March 20.
For more updates on NCAA, visit its official website www.ncaa.com.ph. Follow @ncaaphilippines, @gmasynergy, and @gmasportsph on social media.