NCAA launches 91st season June 27

ABS-CBN executives, led by president and CEO Charo Santos-Concio (center, seated), pose with members of the NCAA Policy Board during the contract signing, making the TV network the league’s media partner for the next 10 years. Others in photo are (from left) ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN head of narrowcast and OIC of Access Group March Ventosa, Mapua CEO and NCAA president Dr. Reynaldo Vea, and Jose Rizal U president Dr. Vincent Fabella, and members of the NCAA board (standing).

MANILA, Philippines - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sets out for more feats in the upcoming season, beginning with centerpiece basketball on June 27 where San Beda will launch its historic six-peat bid against host Mapua at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

"We expect nothing less than excitement in basketball, which we expect to set the tone for another memorable season," said Dr. Reynaldo Vea, in yesterday's official turnover rites at the ELJ Building in Quezon City where he formally received the hosting rights from last year's host Dr. Vincent Fabella of Jose Rizal.

The Lions clash with the Cardinals at 2 p.m. while the Arellano University Chiefs and the Jose Rizal Bombers, last year's second and third placers, respectively, collide at 4 p.m. 

An elaborate opening rites will precede the two matches with the hosts and the league promising to deliver "a performance to remember" based on the season's main theme: "NCAA: Engineered for Sports Excellence in the New Decade."

Vea also announced the return of the oldest collegiate league to the ABS-CBN fold after a three-year absence, sealing a decade-long partnership.

"ABS-CBN will be the NCAA's media partner for the next 10 years starting in this year's 91st season," said Vea.

Dino Laurena, ABS-CBN's head for integrated sports, said the partnership will work both ways.

"We are excited at the prospect of now handling the premiere collegiate leagues in the country which is in line with our vision to help promote sports to our Kapamilya audience, especially the youth," said Laurena.

"Together with our renewed partnership with the NCAA, we look forward with excitement in building the league and the tournament," he added.

Management Committee chair Melchor Divina of Mapua said games have been re-scheduled and will now be played on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with a total of seven seniors matches set each week.

Games will be shown on ABS-CBN Sports + Action live on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

San Beda College is out to extend its reign to six seasons while College of Saint Benilde will defend its general championship trophy after emerging the overall champion last season.

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