“Love is sweeter the second time around .” – ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will open its 91st season on Saturday, June 27. Before things got rolling, however, the Policy Board, Management Committee, and the head coaches of participation schools held a press conference together with ABS-CBN at the Coral Ballroom of the MOA Arena in Pasay City early Monday afternoon.
“Together, ABS-CBN and the NCAA seek to engineer sports excellence in the new decade, enhancing the passion and capabilities of the Filipino youth. We will seek to achieve greater heights and bigger accomplishments as we journey to the NCAA’s first centennial,” Laurena said. Management Committee chairman Melchor Divina of Mapua said the league has re-scheduled its games from Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with a total of seven seniors games to be played every week. ABS-CBN will be NCAA’s media partner for the next ten years starting this 91st season.
The NCAA will open its 91st season with the senior’s basketball tournament starting with a pair of explosive games. The first game, as per tradition, will pit the reigning five-peat champion, San Beda, against the host Mapua. In the second day of a blockbuster double-header, last year’s first and second runners up, Arellano University and Jose Rizal University on Saturday, at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Mapua CEO and NCAA President, Dr. Reynaldo Vea said the opening day games will be preceded by an opening ceremony centered on this season’s theme: “NCAA Engineered for Sports Excellence in the New Decade.”
“We’re expecting a more exciting NCAA season not just in basketball, but in other sports as well,” said Vea during the event launch. ABS-CBN will air the seniors basketball tournament in its entirety and the final four and finals of the women’s volleyball tournament of the grand old league.
The NCAA also formally welcomed Emilio Aguinaldo College and Lyceum as its newest regular members, as well as its reunion with ABS-CBN as its broadcasting partner for the next decade.
Vea announced that the league has upgraded the status of the Generals and the Pirates this year after meeting all the requirements for complete regular status.
“EAC and Lyceum are now regular members of the NCAA starting this season,” he said. EAC and Lyceum, thus join Arellano University, which was also accepted two years ago as a regular, as the newest members of the 10-school strong league that is also comprised of Mapua, San Beda, Jose Rizal, Perpetual Help, Letran, College of St. Benilde, and San Sebastian.
In addition, the commentators for the television coverage of the games were introduced. PBA legend, Olsen Racela and mainstay, Anton Roxas, lead the cast that also includes Andrei Felix, Martin Antonio, Migs Bustos, Mikee Reyes, and Allan Gregorio.
With the reunion of the NCAA and ABS-CBN and the regularization of two new schools, Season 91 is looking to be a season for the ages.