There was a time when TV5’s ‘MVP’ doesn’t stand for businessman Manny V. Pangilinan.
Upon losing the PBA broadcast rights to Solar Sports in 2008, they immediately conceived a show that would appease basketball fans to stay tuned to the network. And in August of that year, the ‘Ka-Shake’ network (they were not called the Kapatid network until Pangilinan’s purchase two years later) premiered the reality show ‘My MVP’.
Hosted by comedian Bayani Agbayani and former PBA player Jason Webb, ‘My MVP’ (MVP stands for Most Valuable Pinoy) featured amateur basketball players who were aspiring to make it to the professional ranks. PBA champion coach Norman Black supervised the ‘My MVP’ training camp.
From the nearly 3000 aspirants who auditioned, only twelve remained for the finale. They were: Luis Palaganas, Robby David, Alwin Elinon, Adrian Pellejera, Raymond Montaniel, Reneboy Banzali, Galen Cacha, Julio Magbanua, Jerry Orera, James Patrick Abugan, Leemore Boliver, and Gemar Isorena.
The ‘Final 12’, as they were known, comprised the My MVP team coached by Norman Black. They faced the PBA Legends of coach Ed Cordero in the series finale held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City in November 2008.
The close battle saw the My MVP team narrowly beat the PBA Legends 109-101. Luis Palaganas was named the ‘My MVP’ winner while he joined Robby David, Alwin Elinon, Julio Magbanua and Leemore Boliver in the Mythical Five.
Unfortunately for ‘My MVP’, neither of the final 12 aspirants made it to the pro ranks. Winner Luis Palaganas did apply for the 2009 PBA Rookie Draft, but went undrafted and never played professionally.
There was no second season either, as TV5 elected to concentrate more on entertainment than sports programming for the remainder of the Tonyboy Cojuangco era. Bayani Agbayani returned to acting, Jason Webb resumed his role as a commentator for the PBA, while Norman Black devoted his energies to the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
It would have been interesting for TV5 under Manny V. Pangilinan to revive ‘My MVP’, considering that the network has renewed their ties to the PBA and have been fully devoted to the national team’s cause. But that is just a dream, at least for now.
In the end, ‘My MVP’ will be remembered for its unfulfilled promises. It was not a bad attempt, but it still didn’t deliver on its intended mission: to find the next great basketball star.