A decade of charity and public service through a basketball league has been marked with the recent opening of the UNTV Cup’s 10th season. The season kicked off at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on October 30, 2023, unveiling the Philippines’ one-of-a-kind league that harnesses public servants’ competitive spirit for the greater good.
Conceptualized and pioneered in 2013 by Brother Daniel Razon, BMPI CEO and President, UNTV Cup carries his vision of innovating sports for societal upliftment. As the Overall Servant of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), Brother Daniel also leads the Church in various charities and outreach missions under MCGI Cares.
According to Brother Daniel, “The UNTV Cup has become more than just a basketball league in the Philippines. It fosters camaraderie through sports while delivering help to the marginalized.”
In his opening speech, he reiterated the league’s commitment to serve others, especially those in need.
“Ang layunin po ng liga na ito ay magpapatuloy na makaabot sa ating mga kapwa-tao.
(This league’s objective will continue to reach out to others),” he stressed.
To date, the league has given more than ₱50 million in cash prizes. A huge fraction of the prizes will go to the selected charities of each participating team.
Brother Daniel looks forward to the UNTV Cup family to grow, both in terms of the number of participating teams and the sport.
“And we are looking forward na ito ay mapalawak, hindi lamang po sa iisang larangan ng sports kundi sa iba’t-ibang kaparaanan para naman po ito’y maging daan para sa pagtulong pa rin sa ating kapwa-tao.”
(And we are looking forward to expanding this league, not only in a particular sport but also to various methods so that it will pave the way to help more people.),“
True enough, Brother Daniel has successfully tapped another sport for the sake of charity. On August 20, 2023, he launched the UNTV Volleyball League exclusively for female public servants. In its 2-month stretch, the 6-team league culminated by doling out a total of at least P1 million to various chosen charities of the champion, second-placer, and third-placer. Teams who were not able to enter the top three spots have also given consolation prizes to their chosen beneficiaries.
Besides the regular season, the UNTV Cup organizers also hold off-season charity events.
“Ang mga benepisyaryo po na inyong tinutulungan at hindi lamang po itong ating regular games sapagkat we have extended this to our Executive Games ng UNTV Cup.”
(The beneficiaries are not confined to our regular games. We have extended this to UNTV Cup Executive Games.),” he added.
The UNTV Cup has held five off-season tournaments: Clash of the Three (2014), Executive Face-Off (2017), Executive Face-Off (2018), PBA Legends Face-Off (2019), and Executive Face-Off (2023).
Just like in the league’s previous opening ceremonies, the participating government agencies also offered public service before the event proper. PAGIBIG Fund, the National Housing Authority, and the Department of Foreign Affairs were among those who opened help desks for the public.
In capping off his opening speech, Brother Daniel emphasized his commitment to reach out to others.
“Naniniwala po ako na sa tulong ng Panginoon ay mananatiling isang paraan ang liga na ito upang makatulong sa ating mga kapwa-tao.” (With the Lord’s help, I believe this league will remain a way to help our fellowmen),” Brother Daniel said.
“I believe that this objective will remain at ang pagtulong sa ating mga kapwa-tao ay mananatili sa puso ng bawat isa na nagkaroon ng puwang sa kanila ang paggawa ng kabutihan sa mga nangangailangan. (I believe that this objective will remain and helping others will remain in the hearts of everyone who gives way to do goodness to those in need).
This year, the UNTV Cup welcomed two additional government agencies to its list — the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA Emissaries) and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC Vanguards).
For this season, 14 government agencies are vying for the title this season:
UNTV Cup organizers, led by Commissioner Fortunato “Atoy” Co, announced the league will award a total of P10 million for this season. The champion will take home ₱3 million. The runner-up will receive P2 million, and the third placer will get P1 million.
Teams who fall short of reaching the top three will also get consolation prizes. The 4th placer will receive P500,000; those from 5th to 10th place get P200,000 while teams from 11th to 14th place bag P100,000.
The league was inaugurated on July 29, 2013, which marked the UNTV News and Rescue’s 9th Anniversary. Starting from seven teams, the number of government agencies has grown over 10 years.
Within its 10-year history, UNTV Cup already has produced two “dynasties.” The AFP Cavaliers won the most championships with three, in 2014, 2016, and 2019. They are followed by two-time champions Judiciary Magis, in 2013 and 2015.
Other title holders are PNP Responders (2017), Senate Defenders (2018), and DENR Warriors (2020).