NCAA moves to GMA

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--You can now call the NCAA a Kapuso.

Broadcasting giant GMA formally announced on Friday that it will be the new television partner of the country's premier collegiate league.

GMA, home to top rating programs like Eat Bulaga and Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, will take over from rival network ABS-CBN as the NCAA's official broadcaster for the next five-and-a-half years, essentially picking up where ABS-CBN left off.

The Kapamilya Network still had five years left in its broadcasting deal with the NCAA before it was shut down following the expiration of its broadcasting franchise and the ensuing denial to a fresh one.

“We are excited that GMA Network is the new home of the NCAA. At the same time, we are grateful to the NCAA board for putting their trust in GMA to serve as a platform in showcasing the talented Filipino student-athletes,” Felipe Gozon, GMA's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The new broadcasting deal would see GMA, through its GMA News TV platform, will air the men's basketball games.

The finals, however, will be aired live on GMA's main channel itself.

GMA News TV will also air the volleyball matches.

In a unique setup, however, GMA will also air the swimming and athletics events.

The length of the new broadcasting deal assures that GMA will be broadcasting the NCAA's centennial season in 2024.

“The NCAA, the Philippines’ first and longest-running collegiate athletic league, is most happy and honored to enter into partnership with GMA Network, Inc., the Philippines’ number one TV network. We look forward with hope and excitement as we work together to form our young student-athletes to become the next champions and national athletes who will bring honor and glory to our beloved country, moving towards the league’s centennial year,” said Fr. Clarence Marquez, the NCAA policy board president for Season 96.

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