MANILA – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the oldest collegiate league in the Philippines, is returning to television giant ABS-CBN after three years in a deal that will last for a decade.
Mapua chief executive and NCAA President Dr. Reynaldo Vea made the official announcement Wednesday at ABS-CBN's ELJ building.
"We hope this is the start of a very fulfilling and successful partnership," Vea said.
The NCAA left ABS-CBN for TV5 in 2012, and that partnership lasted for three years before the league decided to return to the Kapamilya Network.
"Around December of last year, the policy board started internal discussions (about our media partner)," Jose Rizal University President Vincent Fabella said. "We looked for a long-term partnership that had the focus of developing the NCAA as a brand."
"ABS-CBN took that to heart," Fabella added.
The deal will last for 10 years and will start with the league's 91st season, which kicks off on June 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"It (10-year deal) will enable us to play for the long term, and lend stability to the media aspect of the league," said Vea.
Dino Laurena, ABS-CBN head for integrated sports, welcomed the league's return, saying: "We are excited at the prospect of handling the premiere collegiate leagues in the country, which is in line with our vision to help promote sports to our Kapamilya audience, especially the youth."
"Together with our renewed partnership with the NCAA, we look forward with excitement in building the league and the tournament," he added.
Laurena further said that they will "start carefully in trying to develop the NCAA brand."
NCAA Season 91 opens on June 27 with a double-header. Season 91 hosts Mapua will face off against reigning champions San Beda at 2:00 p.m., while third-placers Jose Rizal University will take on second-placers Arellano at 4:00 p.m.
The season's theme is "NCAA: Engineered for Sports Excellence in the New Decade," Vea announced.
Games will be shown live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Marquee games will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena, while majority of elimination round games will be played at the Arena in San Juan.
Laurena also confirmed that aside from the basketball tournament, ABS-CBN will also feature the Final Four and the Finals of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament, and show highlights of the league's other competitions.
"We hope we could be the leading league," Vea said. "We hope you can help us achieve that."