Behind the Balls: UAAP partners with Netflix for a sports documentary

The UAAP has signed its biggest deal yet, partnering with Netflix to provide more behind the scenes training, bonding and of course, chismis and chika.

Sports documentaries have been emerging rapidly, covering a wide range of sports—from the ever-popular basketball to car racing. The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) seized the chance to become the first-ever sports league in the country to create an exclusive documentary on Netflix. According to a recent study, Filipinos rank fourth globally in subscribing to streaming services at around 61.72 percent, and notably, 40 percent of them have opted for Netflix.

With the off-season in full swing for the First Semester sports, the eight UAAP schools are gearing up for the upcoming Season 87, which will take place later this year and bringing fans to the edge of their seats. Much like the gripping saga depicted in Drive to Survive, a documentary series chronicling the world of Formula 1, viewers can anticipate a glimpse into each team’s behind-the-scene preparations and the unfolding drama that accompanies every season.

Dive into exclusive collegiate drama and stay tuned for a new take on a local sports documentary with Behind the Balls!

Signed and sealed 

Due to the influx of sports enthusiasts and fans, the UAAP board has agreed to a five-year deal for Netflix coverage and follows each university throughout the season. In an exclusive interview with The LuhSallian, UAAP Executive Director Civic Saguisag broke the exciting news about the exclusive deal with the league. “We pitched the idea to Netflix and showed them about the UAAP, outlining our plans and demonstrating how the partnership would be mutually beneficial,” Saguisag explains.

The agreement will cover popular sports such as basketball and volleyball and include all sports within the league. This will provide screen time and a platform for athletes who excel in other sports that currently lack television coverage, such as Adamson’s dominance in softball, La Salle’s establishment of a dynasty in baseball, UE’s domination in fencing, and much more. 

Drama looms

The highly-anticipated documentary teased viewers with tensions and spectacles the UAAP community has witnessed, especially during the off-season. Saguisag confirms there will be a one-episode feature of recent player transfers that stirred the public. 

The exclusives will follow Red-Lion-turned-Green-Archer Jacob Cortez, notable for leaving San Beda a month after the NCAA Championship clinch during his one-year mandated residency in La Salle; former Bulldogs star guard and La Salle-Zobel High school product Kean Baclaan departing from NU after two seasons to wear the Green-and-White jersey once again; and the dramatic decommitment of Jared Bahay, a Cebuano basketball standout, from UP to join Ateneo after a so-called intervention by “outside forces.” 

Saguisag taunts further by saying the episode is the long-time-coming explanation for these decisions, saying, “Ganyan naman gusto ng mga fans eh, chismis at drama.”

(That’s what the fans want, gossip and drama.)

While the La Salle, Ateneo, and UP Men’s Basketball teams were busy rousing some player-transfer drama during the off-season, UST, a disparate team on the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament, is currently working behind the camera to bring back some glory to España. One of the documentary’s trailers previewed a feature of Zain Mahmood, a highly-touted Filipino-Canadian addition to the UST Growling Tigers who teased the viewers in his short screen time that they will see more of him and his team. 

Into the Archer Multiverse

Dozens of the Lasallian athletes’ amusing repartee were showcased in the teaser—which ranges from the so-called homecoming of well-known rookies Eco Adajar and heaven-sent Angel Canino, who was spotted negotiating over who is using Razon’s ninth level for training on Friday morning. Adajar explained the comical encounter with Canino, “Nauna kasi ako kagabi na ano mag-reserve kasi po sabi raw ni Coach gagamitin daw po namin, dapat mauna raw kami.

(I was the first one who reserved last night because Coach said we were going to use it and that we were supposed to get it first.)

Meanwhile, Canino was spotted suppressing her giggles when Netflix interviewed her post-training. “Inaasar ko pa po kasi. Pero sabi ko naman, edi mag-practice game na lang tayo para po (diba) makapag-training kaming (dalawang team) ng sabay, ta’s parang narealize niya na mas may sense po ‘yun,” Canino clarified, revealing that this was a friendly rivalry between the two teams.

(It’s because I teased him. But I told him that we should just have a practice game so that both teams could train, and he realized that made more sense.)

The Office of the Head Coaches (OHD) in DLSU are the ones in charge of assembling the whole Lasallian UAAP community to participate in the documentary. Along with introducing the public to one-time special content, OHD Director Manee Kotsman also spoke about DLSU’s shared camaraderie with pro teams, alumni, and other UAAP schools, which will be featured in the documentary.

The audience was immediately taken in by the OHD director’s brief remarks, in which he promised Netflix and the viewers that the series would show the authenticity of the athletes. “Makikita niyo kung gaano kakulit ang mga ‘yan, sila. Marami-rami rin kasing ano, tsismis kapag sila-sila na yung magkakasama, parang marites,” Kotsman laughed as he recounted his small chismis experience with the athletes. Kotsman hopes for the best for the series, noting that it is already in the works and encouraging the viewers to “watch out” for the exciting content release coming to Netflix soon.

(You’ll see how playful they all are. They have a lot of gossip when they’re all together.)

This article was published in The LaSallian‘s Spoof 2024 issue. To read more, visit