NCAA to Launch New Events; Knights Anticipate ''Difficult'' Trip to Four-Peat

By: Rich Longakit
September 22, 2023

Kurt Reyson, Team Captain of the Letran Knights is set to lead the team towards victory in its first game against JRU on opening day at the MOA Arena. Photo courtesy of GMA Sports.

On Sunday, September 24, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) will formally kick off Season 99 at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

With Jose Rizal University hosting the event, they launched the 99th season with a new theme that hopes to make a difference, "New Heroes of the Game," which demonstrates the strength and talents of each participant from all the universities.

NCAA continues to re-expand the sports calendar after the pandemic's chokehold, welcoming back badminton and table tennis this year, along with grassroots programs like kiddie basketball and 3x3 basketball and staple sports like basketball, volleyball, athletics, cheerleading, taekwondo, chess, and swimming.

The league kept its doors open for future sporting events that would cater to the athletes' skills and talents to create a better ground for students to participate in all levels of sports.

"We want to make the NCAA better every year, and this year, our 99th season, can only be a precursor to the excellence we expect to show all of you in our 100th year," Season 99 Policy Board President Dr. Vincent K. Fabella explained.

The Knights, who have held the title for the last three seasons, will now be headed by coach Rensy Bajar, who replaced Bonnie Tan as head coach, and Kurt Reyson as the new team captain looking to keep Intramuros' crown. 

Bajar stated that the Knights' trip to the four peat will be ‘’tough’’  because a lot of veterans from the Muralla-based team have left the team, namely former skipper Fran Yu, Brent Paraiso, King Caralipio and Louie Sangalang. 

However, Knights will fight its way through.

"This is a tough season because we have a lot of veterans who have lost... But we will battle all the way. We will fight and fight," Bajar stated. 

Despite the Knights’ claim that they will be having difficulties as they seek title defense, coaches from other NCAA squads believe that Letran is still the team to beat to halt the title streak.