The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) is proud to introduce the distinguished members of the Commissioner’s Office for UAAP Season 86. Under the leadership of Commissioner Xavier Nunag, this team will continue to elevate the basketball tournaments to new heights, ensuring a fair, vibrant and competitive season.
Nunag, a former student-athlete for the University of the Philippines and current Nike head coach for skills and youth development, will continue to lead the charge as Commissioner of the basketball tournaments. His experience as a student-athlete, coach, and entrepreneur uniquely positions him to steer the UAAP basketball tournaments towards excellence. Moreover, Nunag’s experience as interim UAAP Basketball Commissioner last season allowed him to gain valuable insight that he plans to carry over to the new season.
“I am grateful for the continued trust and support of the UAAP. We are committed to making UAAP Season 86 an unforgettable experience for fans, student-athletes, and all stakeholders,” Commissioner Xavier Nunag stated.
In a historic move, Atty. Mariana Lopa has been named as the Deputy Commissioner for women’s and girls’ basketball, becoming the second woman to hold this prestigious position in the UAAP’s history.
She follows in the footsteps of Edith Boticario, who served as Deputy Commissioner in UAAP Season 82.
Lopa is an alumna of Ateneo de Manila University and currently serves as the managing director of Girls Got Game. She brings a wealth of experience and passion to her new role.
“It’s nice to be back home in the UAAP. When I was growing up, it was my dream to play in the UAAP. I never thought I’d return as a deputy commissioner. I’m very, very happy and excited,” said Atty. Lopa.
“Having a deputy commissioner for the women’s tournament is crucial because there needs to be someone overseeing the games and ensuring the commissioner’s team’s presence at all times. I believe it’s equally important to have someone who has played in the UAAP and is deeply rooted in the women’s basketball community because I understand the intricacies of the women’s game, the women’s tournament and the challenges that we face.”
For high school basketball, the UAAP welcomes Deputy Commissioner Marvin Bienvenida, a champion coach from the NCAA.
Bienvenida, who was a teammate of Nunag during their time at UP, boasts a remarkable coaching career, including leading La Salle Greenhills to their first and only NCAA Juniors Basketball championship in Season 93. He currently serves as the athletic director of LSGH.
“It’s truly an honor to be a part of Commissioner Xavy’s team. First and foremost, it feels great to be back in the UAAP with a different role this time. Secondly, I’m humbled that someone like Commissioner Xavy must have noticed something in me. Perhaps it’s because I bring solid support and possess characteristics that align with his team’s needs,” shared Bienvenida.
“My goal for the high school boys’ tournaments this year is to propagate and reinforce the mission and vision of the commissioner’s team throughout all senior competitions, while maintaining or even surpassing that standard in our UAAP participation.”
Rounding out the Commissioner’s Office are Michael “Chu” Villar, who joins as the Commissioner’s Team Media Consultant, and Lance Mandalano, who serves as Admin Personnel. Their roles will be pivotal in ensuring the smooth operation of UAAP basketball events.
“Success isn’t about delegating tasks; it’s about entrusting the right people with the responsibility. Coach Marvin, a high school basketball expert, and Atty. Mariana, a driving force in women’s basketball, exemplify this passion and expertise. When you have individuals who genuinely love what they do, success becomes not just a goal, but a natural outcome,” said Nunag.
During the off-season, Commissioner Nunag and his team embarked on a proactive approach by personally visiting each of the eight member schools. Their aim was to engage in discussions about new rules and regulations for UAAP Season 86 and establish strong relationships with coaches and student-athletes.
“One aspect of my role was to visit all the teams so that we could establish a common understanding of the rules. This way, if players or coaches have any questions, they can be clarified early on,” said Nunag.