Coaches from NCAA schools pose for a picture during the Season 90 press conference held at the SM MOA Arena. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The NCAA, the oldest organized sports league in the Philippines, is looking to the future even as it honors its present when its 90th season opens on June 28, with the Jose Rizal University (JRU) serving as hosts.
With the theme “Today’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Legends,” the NCAA is hoping that some of their active athletes – whom they consider to be today’s sports heroes – will someday join the pantheon of legends that the league has already produced.
“We are celebrating our 90th season, and it is a season of homage to the oldest organized sporting league (in the country),” said JRU president Dr. Vincent Fabella. “Because we’re the oldest league, we have a storied history, and we have amateur athletes who have gone to become legends.”
“So the theme is ‘Today’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Legends,’ because that’s what has happened in the past,” he explained. “The heroes of the past are the legends of today.”
The new season opens on June 28 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, with Fabella promising an explosive opening ceremony.
“We have some surprises on the opening,” he said. “I don’t want to divulge it, but yes, you will see something grand in the opening.”
On the same day, the JRU Heavy Bombers will provide the first test for defending champions San Beda Red Lions in the first game of the season.
“Medyo mabigat agad ‘yung first assignment namin against the defending champions,” JRU head coach Vergel Meneses acknowledged. “Malakas ‘yung team namin, pero ‘yung siyam, mas malakas sa amin.”
“So for the past two seasons, maganda ‘yung performance ng team ko during the first round, pero nagkakaroon kami ng problema sa second round,” he added.
“So ang target namin ay makabalik sa top four muna.”
Meanwhile, San Beda will trot out a strong team that still features star point guard Baser Amer, big man Ola Adeogun, last season’s Finals MVP Art dela Cruz, and the Semerad brothers, David and Anthony.
“Balanse naman kami,” said head coach Boyet Fernandez. “I’m just happy with what they’re doing right now in practice and how they played in the FilOil pre-season tournament.”
“Hopefully, what we’ve done in the FilOil and in the next few weeks, ma-combine namin para maging stable kami for the NCAA,” he added.
The San Sebastian Stags and the Letran Knights will meet in the second game of the opening day.