MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) With ABS-CBN Sports+Action (S+A) also signing off, some UAAP and NCAA athletes took the opportunity to express their gratitude to the network that first highlighted their sporting careers.
S+A also went dark on Tuesday, after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the Kapamilya network to stop its broadcast operations following the expiration of its franchise.
Several athletes immediately expressed their support for ABS-CBN, and in the following days some former UAAP stars recalled how S+A was instrumental in highlighting their achievements in their respective sports.
Michele Gumabao, the former De La Salle University star, wrote on Instagram that "Volleyball is what it is now because of you," while tagging her post with "#notoabscbnshutdown." She attached a screen capture of herself during her rookie season with the Lady Spikers, when ABS-CBN S+A was just beginning to put a spotlight on UAAP volleyball.
Former Ateneo de Manila University star Alyssa Valdez, meanwhile, thanked ABS-CBN for sharing their stories. Even after her graduation from college, Valdez's volleyball career was still highlighted by ABS-CBN S+A as she played for the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) and hosted shows on the network including "Upfront."
Ricci Rivero of the University of the Philippines made it clear that he stands with ABS-CBN, as he thanked the network for bringing him "closer to your homes."
Charo Soriano, another former Ateneo captain, said she was grateful to ABS-CBN for "taking a chance" on her. While Soriano's UAAP career ended just before the boom of UAAP volleyball, she nevertheless became a fixture on the network when she played in the PVL, and later, became part of the broadcast panel.
Johnvic de Guzman, the former De La Salle-College of St. Benilde star turned national team captain, also thanked ABS-CBN for giving importance to the stories of athletes.
And in an emotional Instagram post, former University of Santo Tomas star Carmela Tunay shared how watching ABS-CBN S+A opened the doors for her volleyball career. She credited her internship with ABS-CBN Integrated Sports as a formative time in her life, and like Soriano, thanked them for giving her a chance.
"I would say that many others like me have had our lives changed by volleyball, but more than the sport, it was really ABS-CBN who showed Philippine athletes to the world," wrote Tunay, who became a part of the broadcast panel for the UAAP Season 82 volleyball tournament before it was terminated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"S+A showed me that dreams don't stop. They just keep on growing as we go on. I found a new passion in sports aside from playing…. I loved everything that ABS-CBN Sports+Action stood for. Hence, I stand with ABS-CBN on this fight. Let's not kill what gives life and inspiration to millions out there."
Virtual Playground, which counts several UAAP and NCAA stars among its clients, also sent a message of gratitude to ABS-CBN for "a job well done in telling our stories."
"We stand with ABS-CBN, particularly S+A who is committed to the development of sports and bringing it closer to the homes of every sports-loving Filipino. We are saddened by this very untimely shutdown, when Filipinos depend on the network to enjoy the UAAP, NCAA, PVL, MPBL, ONE, and ABL encores to ease their tension in this pandemic," Virtual Playground chief executive Charlie Dy said in a statement to ABS-CBN News.
"We salute your unwavering commitment to genuinely serve worldwide."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).