Letran Calamba Hosts NCAA-South’s 17th Season

By:Sharon Alon-Malaiba

Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba once again hosted the latest season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association-South, the counterpart of NCAA in the South of Metropolis. Eleven member-institutions took part in the opening ceremony, which was held on August 20, 2015 at the Letran Calamba grounds, with the majestic Mt. Makiling as its backdrop.

The affair started with several activities, such as the motorcade of all athletes, in their brightly-colored athlete’s uniform and school officials. This was followed by a press conference with the presidents of member schools. Welcoming the delegates was the Jocson band, which played festive music that added excitement to the event.

At exactly six in the evening, the opening ceremony started with the parade of the athletes from the participating schools, namely Emilio Aguinaldo College, Cavite, First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas, Philippine Christian University-Dasmarinas, Saint Francis of Assisi College, San Beda College-Alabang, San Pablo Colleges, University of Batangas, University of Perpetual Help System Laguna, De La Salle Lipa, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba, which received the loudest cheer from the crowd. The athletes were led by their respective league’s Management Committee members and coaches.

With the theme “Sama-samang Tagumpay Tungo sa Makabagong Ka-Arribang Panahon,” the formal festivities started with a prayer led by Rev. Fr. Jessie R. Yap, O.P., the Vice President of the Religious Education, Mission, and Identity Division. After which, Rev. Fr. Honorato C. Castigador, O.P., the Rector and President of the Colegio, welcomed all delegates and enthused the audience by sharing that nature helped in welcoming the visitors, because in Letran, new Letranites are welcomed through baptism of water dubbed as Binyag Arriba.

Two well-respected athletes inspired the young athletes that night, Mr. Chieffy Caligdong, former Captain ball of Philippine Azkal, and Mr. RJ Jazul of Alaska Acers. Both inspired all young athletes to give their best in every game.

Several members of the league’s Management Committee were given special awards, and special recognition were awarded to Ms. Angelica S. Dela Cruz of San Beda College Alabang, Fr. Paul M. De Vera, OSB of San Beda Alabang, and the Colegio’s very own Rector and President, Fr. Castigador.

Special production numbers of Colegio’s homegrown talents also enlivened the crowd. Ms. Jenalyn Quiatchon, Mr. Galen Usana, and Mr. Mark Laurel Dela Cueva, all Letran Calamba alumni, sang the theme song of NCAA-South, “Sampintig na Tagumpay,” while Ms. Jiah Finela Austria, a Voice Kid Season 2 contender, gave a wonderful rendition of the song “Flashlight.”

An exciting twist was made in the traditional Lighting of Torch. Captain leaders of basketball teams of all participating schools lined up and passed on the torch, with Mr. Kyifer Del Mundo, the Captain Ball of Letran Calamba’s Basketball team at the end of the queue.

Kyifer ran up to the 3rd floor of San Lorenzo Ruiz Building and passed on the burning torch to the person waiting at the end of the zip line. In a flash, the torch was carried through the zip line and lit the giant torch stationed at the middle of the field. This breathtaking moment drew a loud reaction from the crowd.

More excitement was felt during the event when the Buganda Dancers showcased their unique performance that was never before seen in Letran Calamba. Their performance left the crowd in awe. After all the commotion, the Fr. Rector formally declared the NCAA-South 17th Season open. The festive evening was capped with the display of fireworks.

The NCAA-South 18th Season Steering Committee members was led by Mr. Conrado Borromeo, the Assistant Director of Athletics Office. Other members included Ms. Doris F. Bayugo, Mr. Alex Macario C. Cecilio, Ms. Alma Grace Y. Cid, Mr. Joseph Elias C. De Grano, Dr. Jonathan Q. Ibalio, Ms. Lorna O. Malana, Ms. Sharon F. Alon-Malaiba, Mr. Rodolfo C. Ondevilla, Mr. Enrico O. Opulencia, Ms. Rosario Palomeno, Ms. Josephine A. Querimit, Engr. Felimar T. Resplandor, and Mr.Lorenzo C. Romabiles III.