MANILA, Philippines – The seventh season of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) will be shown on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 after the ABS-CBN Sports sealed the deal that was months in the making with Virtual Playground.
The announcement was confirmed this week over a contract signing attended by veteran sports agents Charlie Dy and Dondon Monteverde, the leaders of Virtual Playground, along with Jericho Ilagan, chief operating officer of the ABL, and Dino Laurena, the head of Integrated Sports at ABS-CBN.
The ABL's 2016-2017 season will consist of 71 games, with the first match set to tip off on November 27. All home games of the Philippine team will be aired live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, and live-streamed through sports.abs-cbn.com. Additional selected games will be aired on the same channel.
"When Virtual Playground first approached us for this project, we were very excited," Laurena said in a statement. "We believe we can take basketball in this country and raise the game to a whole new level through our participation in the ABL."
Dy, who will lead the recruitment of the Philippine team, is similarly eager about the opportunities presented.
"We Filipinos consider basketball our national sport," Dy said. "This is a chance for us to give Filipino athletes a platform to showcase our talents and abilities on an international level."
Laurena also sees the ABL as a way to promote nation-building.
"These games end up becoming national events, something that people anticipate," he noted. "It gives us something to root for. It's a way for us to show our sense of pride."
"Hopefully, it will also bring people together and give them a reason to celebrate," he added.
In the ABL, basketball fans will get to see some Filipinos play as imports. "When it comes to basketball, Filipinos are a well-recognized talent in the region," said Ilagan.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)