LOOKING to further promote its brand and showcase the kind of institution it is, AMA Education System (AMAES) has made a conscious effort to try out various activities and explore partnerships, including joining the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League), which officials said has been an “effective” venture for them.
Now on its third year of membership in the PBA’s official minor league organization, AMA said it has been worth their while joining the D-League on various levels.
“AMA really wanted to play in big leagues like the National Collegiate Athletic Association and University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) but it was really hard for us to enter those leagues as they are pretty much set up. So we looked for other opportunities where we can join and compete. And we saw that in the PBA D-League,” said Arnel F. Hibo, SVP and COO at AMA Education System, in an interview with BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the AMA Online Education Titans’ PBA D-League pre-tournament press conference early this week.
“We were part of the Philippine Basketball League for a while but it is no longer around and we just came back and now we are in the D-League. Our motivation was not only to highlight education but venture into other things that our students can relate to and basketball is one of them,” the AMA official added.
And so far their expectations upon joining the league in 2014 have been met, by and large, Mr. Hibo said.
“Our D-League participation has become a rallying point for our community. At the start we just wanted to be there and just a few students came to watch. But in our second season more students started to come and watch and were very excited. This year, our third, we expect fan interest and support to increase some more,” Mr. Hibo said.
“The venture also helped in breaking the stereotype of AMA just being a computer school. Through our participation in the D-League and the coverage that goes with it, I believe more people have become aware of the different things we offer as an institution,” he added.
RECOMMEND TO OTHERS
Seeing how it has worked for them, Mr. Hibo said that they at AMA would recommend other companies or schools to join the D-League to promote their brand if they so choose.
“Yes, definitely, this is something we recommend to others. Three years ago I think there were only us and Centro Escolar University with Café France which are school-based teams playing in the league. Now there are five with Manuel L. Quezon University (with Victoria Sports), San Beda College (with Cignal HD) and Jose Rizal University. It shows that other schools have taken notice and these schools partnering with companies for such can work. Schools and companies can work together,” he said.
Mr. Hibo was quick to say, however, that proper planning is important to make things work in joining the D-League.
“It helps if school officials are sports-minded like in our case and they truly support the venture to join the D-League. But also on our part it is strategic. We chose to carry the AMA Online brand of our group because it caters to a wide range of people from high school to young professionals who are very active. So we chose it and the D-League because they are relatable to our target demographic,” he said.
Mr. Hibo went on to say that they have plans to go even higher to play in the PBA itself as well as build their own volleyball team that will play in commercial leagues in the future.
“We have already submitted a letter of intent to the PBA board to join as an expansion team. Everything is already with the board and I think we are one of a number of interested applicants to join the PBA. We are just waiting word from the PBA and we hope to be part of it in the next two to three years. We have been active in the D-League and I hope they see that in making their decision,” he said.
“Volleyball is also in the plans down the line as our student ratio is pretty much 50-50, male and female, and so we want our female students to have something of their own as well. Right now we are playing in the National Athletic Association of Schools and Universities but maybe we can join commercial leagues like the V-League and Philippine SuperLiga in the future,” Mr. Hibo added.
But for now, immediate for AMA is to be competitive in the PBA D-League, whose Aspirants’ Cup started yesterday with the Titans opening their campaign against newbie team Province of Batangas.
They are now being bannered by former UAAP star Jeron Teng of La Salle who hopes to lead his team of AMA students and veteran D-League campaigners to greater heights after failing to advance beyond the second round in its first two years in the league.