By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

AFTER two decades at the helm of the National Basketball Association’s push in the country, Carlo Singson is stepping down as managing director of NBA Philippines, the league announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, the NBA said Mr. Singson will relinquish his post as associate vice-president and managing director of the NBA office here and will be replaced on an interim basis by Scott Levy, NBA executive vice-president and managing director of NBA Asia. Mr. Singson’s last day in office is on Feb. 14, 2020.

Mr. Singson’s departure from his position marks the end of a fruitful 20-year stay with the league that saw him lead an aggressive push to bring the NBA to more people in the country, including the setting-up of the league office in the Philippines — the NBA’s 13th international office overall — and the first-ever NBA preseason game played here in 2013.

He also oversaw the launch of the league’s youth development program, Jr. NBA Philippines in 2007.

The Jr. NBA Philippines program since its inception has reached more than two million players, parents and coaches in over 190 cities and municipalities, eventually expanding to five other countries across Southeast Asia.

Under his watch as well as managing director of NBA Philippines, Mr. Singson helped define the NBA’s media distribution strategy in the country and introduced new ways for Filipino fans to consume the NBA.

Mr. Singson, too, was influential in securing landmark partnerships in the insurance, mobile, and telecommunications sectors through deals with AXA, Vivo, Globe Telecom and Smart, respectively.

“Carlo has been an integral part of the NBA family and his wide-ranging efforts have led the business to achieve significant growth in the Philippines over the past decade,” said Mr. Levy in the statement shared to members of media.

“We thank Carlo for his contributions to the NBA and wish him the best in the next chapter of his career,” he added.

For Mr. Singson, to see how the NBA presence has grown in the country as he departs is something he is proud of.

“It’s overwhelming to see how much the NBA has grown in the Philippines over my tenure,” he said.

Adding, “As a lifelong NBA fan, I am grateful to have contributed to the vision of making the NBA a global league and will continue to cheer on the NBA from the sidelines.”

This season has proven to be a challenging one for Mr. Singson and the NBA in the country after the league saw itself sans a regular television partner after its contract with Solar Entertainment Corp. ended and was not renewed.

To date select NBA games here are offered live and on-demand through the league’s local Facebook (NBA Philippines) and Twitter (@NBA_Philippines) accounts. Select games are also on offer on free-to-air channel CNN Philippines.

These are apart from the league’s premium live game subscription service, NBA League Pass.

The league said it is still working to find a new TV partner in the country.

Despite such a setup, Mr. Singson reiterated that the Philippines remained a “priority market” for the NBA in a media roundtable back in October.

“The Philippines remains to be a priority market for the NBA. It is home to a large and passionate fan base and we don’t take that lightly. Our goal is to service our fans. We’ve been in this market for over 30 years, even before I joined the NBA,” said Mr. Singson.