The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is ready to kick off the opening ceremonies of its much-awaited 97th season this Saturday (March 26). 

The event will be aired on television through GMA and GTV’s “Stronger Together. Buo ang Puso: NCAA Season 97 Opening Ceremonies.”

This special coverage – broadcast after the noontime show Eat Bulaga – will be hosted by Ms. Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo, Manolo Pedrosa, and NCAA hosts Martin Javier and Sophia Senoron. 

They will be joined by 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 De La Salle-College of St. Benilde will be the host this season, marking the return of the Men’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball tournaments. The online chess and taekwondo matches are also set to come back for this year. 

NCAA Season 97 Management Committee Chairman Manuel Raymund Castellano Jr. said the university is ecstatic to be hosting NCAA’s 2022 edition. 

“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,” Castellano shared. 

Besides Castellano, 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) will also be present at the opening ceremonies. 

“We are more than excited to bring the new season of the NCAA to our Kapuso viewers here and abroad,” GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon said. 

“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.”

NCAA Season 95 Men’s Basketball Champions the Letran Knights will go against the CSB Blazers for the season’s first game at 3:30 PM. Next up is the San Beda Red Lions, who will battle it out with the LPU Pirates at 7:05 PM live on GTV.

Live games will air on GTV every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to Sunday at 12:00 NN on GTV. Meanwhile, replays will air every Monday and Thursday at 3:00 PM.

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Image credit: NCAA