Mapua official to push for innovative changes in NCAA

Mapua Cardinals director for basketball operations Marco Yuchengco Santos is pushing for innovative changes in the NCAA as the school is set to host this season. Alder Almo

MANILA, Philippines - Mapua Cardinals director for basketball operations Marco Yuchengco Santos hopes to bring innovative changes to the NCAA as their school is set to host this season.

Santos, who is the grandson of the school owner and former Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, aired his disappointment in the way the NCAA has been handling its affairs which he felt is the reason why rival league UAAP has been successful.

"There are some things that I believe should be kept like old school, but essentially there are things that we need to change to keep in step with the modern times," Santos told

While Santos has reservations with the longevity of the TV deal, which he thinks restricts the league's position to earn more in the future, he is leaving it all up to the mancomm who made the decision to return to ABS-CBN for a fresh 10-year deal after three years with TV5.

Santos, who is an accomplished entrepreneur and leader in the field of education, online gaming, data center management and BPO on top of managing the Cardinals' basketball team, is pushing for the league to be more vibrant and adapt to the changing times.  

On top of his wish list is limiting the terms of service of the members of the NCAA Management Committee and putting up a performance evaluation measure after each season.

 "I am lobbying to limit the terms of the management committee and that they should be measured by performance," Santos said.

"It's a league run by people who are in the position because of their term. At the end of the day, if you're a CEO, you would ask them how much money did we make? We lost Php25 million. Did NCAA make money? Zero. Negative pa," rued Santos, who earned a B.S. in Management Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University before becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Santos though made it clear that he does not want a seat in the NCAA mancomm and he leaves it up to the school president Dr. Reynaldo Vea to push his innovative ideas.

While their basketball team has not performed well in the first two years under his watch, he is expecting bigger things from coach Atoy Co this season with the return of 2011 Rookie of the Year Josan Nimes and Andretti Stevens and the 6-foot-9 Nigerian rookie Allwell Oraeme.

Santos is also pushing for a more lenient residency rule for transferring athletes from rival league UAAP but stricter academic requirements.

"We have to attract UAAP players to go to NCAA. Change the residency rule. Make it more exciting. We need to attract people to watch us. We need the Alumni to come back," said Santos, who bared that their alumni led by former four-time PBA MVP Alvin Patrimonio will be at the opening rites.

"We should have random academic check on every NCAA athlete. Every player has at least good grades. If we value education, let's make sure that these athletes really passed. My point is if the athletes are struggling then let's make special courses for them which they can use when their playing years are over," Santos added.

Mapua has opened up Sports Science Technology course for their athletes as Santos said it would be their back-up plan if these athletes fail to make it to the pros.

Another on his wish list is to make the league officiating satisfactory.

Curiously, the Cardinals were part of the infamous 'basketbrawl' with the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals where the league penalized a record total of 18 players.

While he condemned the participation of his players, he also pointed out that the officials were also accountable for their failure to contain things from going out of hand.

"We should actually show that these athletes behave well when they come out of the NCAA," Santos said.

While UAAP has Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. chasing after the NBA dream, Santos wishfully thinks to have the first full-blooded Filipino basketball player in the NBA to come out from, what he termed as the 'tougher' league, NCAA. But everything remains to be wishful thinking if the NCAA does not rock the boat and change its course. 

"We're not so happy [with the NCAA]. We have to change our ways. But this year, hopefully we could create change," Santos said. "If not, the NCAA will not actually die. It will just turn grey and boring."

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