SHOWING the remarkable resilience of Filipinos, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) successfully held its unique season dubbed “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” via its new home, GMA Network—and making history as the first collegiate athletic league in the Philippines to safely hold a sports tournament in the time of the pandemic.

Since it started last June 13, “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” brought to 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 health and safety protocols, NCAA showcased the students’ world-class talents in taekwondo, chess, volleyball, and basketball.

This Sunday, August 8, NCAA formally wraps up this unique season with a special program to be aired on GTV and led by Season 96 Policy Board President and Colegio de San Juan de Letran President and Rector Fr. Clarence Victor C. Marquez, OP.

Fr. Marquez expressed his gratitude to the public’s support for NCAA Season 96. “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,” he said.

“By the grace of God, we have found a new broadcast partner in GMA Network, Inc. and opened this special Season 96 with much promise and pomp. 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,” Fr. Marquez added.

Also in attendance at the NCAA Studio of Champions were the members of NCAA Management Committee: Pedro Cayco (Arellano University); NCAA Season 96 Mancom Chairman Fr. Victor Calvo, Jr., OP (Colegio de San Juan de Letran); incoming NCAA Season 97 Mancom Chairman Manuel Raymund Castellano (De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde); Estefanio Boquiron, Jr. (Emilio Aguinaldo College); Efren Jose Supan (José Rizal University); Hercules Callanta (Lyceum of the Philippines University); Melchor Divina (Mapua 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).

Incoming NCAA Season 97 Policy Board President and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde President Br. Edmundo Fernandez, FSC is optimistic that the next season will be as exciting as the last. “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. This year we were reminded of our national pride and the Filipino spirit through our national athletes who raised our flags and brought home medals from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Inspired by our national athletes and our students, such as Hidilyn Diaz, the first Olympic Gold Medalist of the country, we continue to provide a venue for our student athletes to develop the values and discipline through NCAA. 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,” Br. Fernandez ended.

“From all of us here in GMA Network, we extend our warmest congratulations to the NCAA Season 96 Policy Board and Management Committee, NCAA student-athletes and coaches, and the entire NCAA community for successfully mounting its most challenging and fruitful season yet,” said GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon. “Once again, 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. This makes us even more proud to call GMA the home of NCAA. We feel even more honored to be part of an institution that continuously helps shape the future of our young athletes and national pride. So, as we culminate NCAA Season 96, we leave you with a promise that GMA Network will remain committed to provide NCAA with a world-class treatment and a well-deserved global recognition. Ang inyong Kapuso Network, buong puso para sa NCAA.”

“Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96” was hosted by Martin Javier and Sophia Senoron with Anton Roxas as sports anchor.

Celebrating the successful Season 96 during the closing ceremonies in the NCAA Studio of Champions were The Clash alumni Jessica Villarubin, Jeremiah Tiangco, and Anthony Rosaldo. They performed the ‘Rise Up Stronger’ theme song and ‘Patuloy ang Pangarap.’

Don’t miss the closing ceremonies of “Rise Up Stronger: NCAA Season 96,” this Sunday at 5:05 p.m. on GTV. Kapuso abroad can also catch this via GMA Pinoy TV and GMA News TV. Visit NCAA Philippines’ official website and follow @ncaaphilippines and @gmasynergy on social media.

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