UNIONPAY, a global payment network, is now part of the growing list of partners of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after inking a deal to become the league’s official payment partner.

In a short ceremony held in between games on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, Vincent Ling, Deputy General Manager, UnionPay International Southeast Asia, and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial signed the deal making UnionPay an official sponsor of the league.

Mr. Ling said they are excited to be partnering with the PBA, seeing how the latter presents a good platform for them to lay out and grow their vision as a company in the country.

“UnionPay is delighted to be the official payment partner of the PBA. The PBA partnership is our first major sponsorship in the country, and also our first basketball sponsorship globally. Our strategy is to always serve and connect on a deeper level with our consumers and local communities. As such, UnionPay is constantly engaging our cardholders through exciting activities. With the PBA partnership, we hope to bring heightened excitement surrounding the games to fans and UnionPay cardholders,” said Mr. Ling during the signing ceremony which was witnessed by officials of the two groups.

For Mr. Marcial, the partnership with UnionPay, which he described as between like-minded organizations, is welcome development for the PBA and its fans.

“We are so proud partnering with UnionPay. We share the same vision of serving our clients and the fans. And we are so grateful to have them on board. This is big for the PBA,” the PBA commissioner said.

The partnership kicked off last Wednesday which saw UnionPay organize exciting activities for fans and UnionPay cardholders, including an on-court game — “UnionPay — Shoot Your Way” — where fans got to win exclusive PBA merchandises.

The groups said the partnership not only covers the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup but extends as well to the other conferences — the Governors’ Cup and Philippine Cup — and the league’s All-Star Week, fun run and other various fund-raising events.

Also, as the official PBA payment partner, UnionPay will be offering exclusive privileges to its customers. Cardholders who spend any amount between July 10 and Aug. 31 this year with UnionPay cards issued locally stand to win “Money Can’t Buy” exclusive PBA merchandises, including PBA jerseys, shirts and Molten basketballs endorsed by popular PBA players such as June Mar Fajardo, LA Tenorio, Asi Taulava, Marc Pingris, Chris Banchero and Sean Anthony. Cardholders just need to register their amount spent at www.unionpaywin.com to participate.

UnionPay said this is just one of many exciting activities its plans to carry out throughout the year surrounding its partnership with the PBA.

In the Philippines, UnionPay cards are issued by BDO, BOC, Omnipay, PNB and RCBC Bankard, and are widely accepted at merchants and ATMs across the country. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo