TOP-QUALITY officiating and nationally televised games are on the menu as the newly-organized Universities and Colleges Athletic League, Inc. (UCAL) gets ready to unveil its pet project.
Called Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL), the group's maiden tournament was conceptualized not only to provide opportunities to student-athletes of the seven participating schools but also to showcase their talents in a much bigger stage.
This early, UCAL president Franklin Evidente expressed excitement for the all-out support of the school owners and league directors as well as the preparations being undertaken by various committees to make opening day very special.
“We are happy that we are about to take off, and we are doing our best to make it a day to remember,” said Evidente during the contract signing between the league and TV partner Asian Television Content (ATC) Sports.
Evidente said all the games will be shown on a delayed basis on IBC 13, including the opening ceremonies set on October 8 at the Olivarez College gym in Paranaque City.
“We are confident that our partnership with ATC Sports and IBC 13 will not only unearth future basketball stars, it will also provide additional publicity to our participant schools,” said Evidente.
“There are about 220 colleges and universities nationwide, 140 of which are in Metro Manila. Only a handful of schools gain nationwide exposure through televised tournaments."
Multi-titled Centro Escolar University has been installed favorite to win the inaugural tournament, but tournament director Horacio Lim insists otherwise.
“The CEU Scorpions may be the most experienced team right now but other teams are capable of pulling off surprises,” said Lim, who will be assisted by Hapee Toothpaste manager Bernard Yang.
Also taking part in the tournament presented by EuroMed and Lamoiyan Corporations are Bulacan State University, Colegio De San Lorenzo, Diliman College, Olivarez College, Technological Institute of the Philippines and University of Batangas.
The league, according to Lim, will be strict when it comes to officiating, saying the lifespan and stability of a basketball league largely depends on officiating.
“We will not tolerate mediocre officiating, we will kick out those who will commit boo boos,” said the former Mapua coach.
Tapped to officiate the games are members of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) referees group that will be headed by Liberato Valenzuela with Arnel Bermeo and Melo Navarro as members of the technical group.