The UAAP has tapped ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Basketball Technical Director Jensen Ilagan as the new commissioner for the upcoming 82nd season of the men's, women's, and juniors' basketball tournaments.
"I'm humbled to be the new UAAP Commissioner. I will do my best to uphold the league's integrity through fair competition," said Ilagan.
Similar to last season, the league commissioner will work hand-in-hand with UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag.
"It's an honor to be part of the UAAP and I'm excited for the upcoming season," Ilagan told ESPN5.
As a top official in Asia's first and only regional professional basketball league, Ilagan managed the ABL's operations and ensured the integrity of the competition by supervising the review and officiating of each game. He has closely worked with FIBA licensed game officials and referees from various countries in the last four years.
Ilagan will replace Junel Baculi, who was the commissioner for Season 81.
"His experience working in the ABL made us decide to tap him as our Commissioner," said UAAP President Emmanuel Fernandez. "His youth will bring more technological advancements to our league this season."
"I commend the UAAP's choice, spearheaded by this season's host, as we continue to open our doors to candidates other than the traditional names in basketball," added UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag. "But such a risk, if it may even be called such, is not without calculation."
One of the innovations Ilagan plans to introduce for this campaign is the 'Video Review Initiative.' With this, every member of the officiating pool will be mandated to review the games that were played after every game day.
"If it's a good game, it will be the standard. If it's a bad game then it will serve as a lesson for the officials as well," said Ilagan.
"He appears to be tech-savvy and is aligned with the UAAP's vision of using data to hold officials accountable," added Saguisag.
The league, though, has yet to finalize the pool of game officials for the season.
Ilagan held a tryout last July 22-23 where 174 referees from 12 officiating groups attended the meet. The pool was trimmed down to 73 referees who will all undergo intensive training next week.
The final pool of officials will be revealed on the third week of August, according to Ilagan.
"We have very high expectations and we will continue to watch him. I wish Mr. Ilagan luck in leading his office with pride and honor -- his success is our success," expressed Saguisag.
Assisting Ilagan as Tournament Director is a former Ateneo Blue Eagle and ex-Lyceum-Cavite High School Athletics Director LA Mumar. Mumar graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Development Studies.
Meanwhile, ABL technical officer and FIBA licensed official Editha Boticario will serve as deputy commissioner.
The men's and women's tourneys will begin on September 4.