The National Collegiate Athletic Association is preparing a simple yet elegant opening ceremony to usher in Season 95 of the league two weeks from now.
Peter Cayco of host Arellano University said the NCAA Management Committee of which he is the chairman, has decided to do away with having a special guest speaker during the July 7 opener and instead will just have the games declared open by the league’s Policy Board President Francisco Cayco.
“We’re deviating a little from the usual. We will have no special guests or even guest speakers. Our Policy Board president will only declare the season open,” said Cayco in detailing the program preceding the opening day doubleheader at the Mall of Asia Arena starting at 12 noon.
“Each of the 10 presidents of the 10 universities or schools will have their time to give their messages to be played during the opening ceremony.”
Instead, the host school has prepared a colorful setting that centers on Filipiniana and pistahan tradition of the Filipinos.
“‘Yan ang ating theme showcasing all the member schools and not just the host school,” stressed Cayco in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila on Tuesday as he appeared as guest along with commissioner for basketball Tonichi Pujante.
The games remain the staple attraction of the country’s oldest collegiate league, with the centerpiece event of basketball kicking off hostilities for the new season.
Letran battles back-to-back runner up Lyceum in the 2 p.m. curtain raiser followed by the main game between Arellano and three-time defending champion San Beda at 4 p.m.
With the exception of Arellano, San Beda, Lyceum, and Letran are the teams to beat in men’s basketball this season, according to Cayco in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Aside from basketball, other sports at stake this season include volleyball, swimming, athletics, taekwondo, lawn tennis, chess, football, beach volleyball, soft tennis, badminton, and table tennis.
This season, the women’s lawn tennis will finally become a regular part of the league calendar to be followed by cheerleading next year.
Also starting this season, the NCAA will start handing out a Perpetual Trophy to the school which will win the seniors’ general championship three straight years.
A special trophy has been crafted for the school that will achieve the special feat.