Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Returns to ABS-CBN

After an unsuccessful three-year stint with TV5, the NCAA returns to ABS-CBN Sports starting with Season 91. (Photo credit:

The NCAA returns to an old friend.

It was announced that the NCAA will once again join forces with ABS-CBN Sports for the next ten years, beginning with Season 91 that is slated to open on June 27. This ends a rather unfruitful three-year partnership between the league and previous coveror TV5.

Under the terms of a new contract, ABS-CBN Sports+Action will air the NCAA seniors basketball games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with a total of seven games a week. Most games will be at the FilOil Flying V Arena, while select marquee matchups will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In addition, Sports+Action will air the playoffs of women’s volleyball, as well as short highlights of the league’s other sports. Overall, the ten-year deal between the NCAA and ABS-CBN is aimed at promoting, developing, building and stabilizing the NCAA in a sporting and marketing standpoint.

ABS-CBN Sports and the NCAA first joined forces in Season 78 (2002-03), with host San Beda College responsible for the deal. The initial partnership resulted in wider and more extensive game coverage for the league, whereas in prior years it only received fringe coverage in other networks.

The NCAA’s first foray with ABS-CBN Sports lasted for ten seasons. Then in Season 88, the league joined forces with Sports5, hoping to bring in additional televised games and attract more viewers in the process.

However, the league and Sports5 encountered numerous problems, such as constant scheduling changes, lack of marketing and promotion, and network assignments. TV5 also lacked the resources to improve its power, reach and accessibility, as well as adapting to new technologies such as online live-streaming.

That said, the marriage between TV5 and the NCAA was destined to fail. And it did.

Now that the NCAA has returned to ABS-CBN Sports, fans can only hope that the latter will deliver the little things that TV5 failed to do. The long-term contract between the two parties should help the NCAA grow not only as a league, but as a brand, something ABS-CBN Sports was able to do with the UAAP.

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports begins this June 27. Good luck.


35 thoughts on “NCAA Returns to ABS-CBN

  1. Gab says:

    Since NC is back on ABS (but of-course, ABS’s main priority is UAAP), bring back the all-star game of UAAP and NCAA superstars, student CSRs and the cool halftime show. :3

    Hoping with this a decade long deal, babalik na ang kinang ng NCAA.

    • James Ty III says:

      I agree. No more Moneyball. TV5 tried to make the NCAA coverage almost like the PBA but the station obviously forgot that pro and college ball are two different bananas.

      • Provincial games are also out of the picture, an ambitious move na hindi rin successful for NC and TV5.

        And no Ai dela Cruz either, even though full-timer na siya with ABS.

    • It will take time, but considering na may track record ang ABS sa pagdevelop ng UAAP, it won’t be a problem, as long as they know what they’re doing.

      By the way, I don’t think they’ll consider bringing back the Bantay Bata All-Star Games at all. The UAAP begins their season in late September, and the NCAA doesn’t have a one-year wait for graduating stars who intend to apply for the PBA Rookie Draft. The NCAA will be short on talent once the last-year stars suit up for the PBA; it will be unfair for the league. PCCL na lang ang pagasa natin for that.

      Unless of course ABS does a TV5 and make another NCAA All-Star Game as last year, which mukhang hindi na papayag.

      • James Ty III says:

        I’m sure ABS-CBN knows what it’s doing. It found success with the UAAP and now, they will try to rebuild the NCAA. In fact, both leagues will not start at the same time. NCAA starts in June, UAAP in September,

    • Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

      Yup, I agree. But, IMO UAAP All Star will dominate against the NCAA in the end, because of how players in UAAP are treated well in their sports benefits than in NCAA.

      • That is why I expect that no all-star games will be played this time around, since the UAAP begins much later now than before. Also, there’s no one-year waiting period for NCAA players to apply for the PBA Rookie Draft, unlike in the UAAP, meaning the NCAA will be at a disadvantage once the players who used up their eligibility immediately suit up for the PBA weeks after the NCAA basketball season ends.

  2. James Ty III says:

    Ai de la Cruz will concentrate on Myx and ANC, thank God. She can still do Sports5 but not PBA.

    ABS-CBN will surely conduct auditions for new NCAA courtside reporters so expect total newcomers for the job.

    Regarding anchors, Anton Roxas and Drei Felix should be shoo-ins. Not sure about Bill Velasco and Boyet Sison since Bill is preparing to release the documentary about the PBA’s 40 years which will hit theaters this year.

  3. Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

    It’s nice to hear NCAA back to ABS-CBN Sports and Action. Whenever I want to watch past NCAA games between different colleges, I used to prefer the Studio 23 coverage (at that time) than their previous stint in TV5. Plus, the coverage in ABS-CBN Sports and Action is much exciting and has cooler graphics than in Sports 5.

    Even though NCAA is not the #1 Priority of ABS-CBN because obviously UAAP is the #1 college league no doubt, but returning home to where they really stayed longer and got exposed more to the viewers is better than renewing to a station who wasn’t able to deliver their expectation.

    • TV5 had some ambitious plans, but for some unfortunate reason, they weren’t able to deliver. They changed stations a lot, moved schedules a lot, went as far as trying to promote the NCAA via provincial and all-star games, and even devised some unorthodox schemes, which didn’t sit well with college hoops fans. They lost a lot of money as a result.

      • James Ty III says:

        According to a sportswriter-friend of mine, the reason why NCAA left TV5 was that the league did not like the amount TV5 offered to renew the contract. The league went back to ABS-CBN after the latter network made a better offer.

        What also made it easier for the NCAA to return to ABS-CBN was that the latter removed Studio 23 and put up Sports+Action primarily for sports coverages.

      • Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

        Yup, but has the brawl got something to do on the reason why NCAA left TV5?

      • No. However, the NCAA encountered some problems with TV5, since the network has a tight schedule. Twice TV5 has cut an NCAA game before its conclusion (the aforementioned Mapua-EAC incident and the Lyceum-Mapua game on the day President Noynoy Aquino delivered his speech on the DAP crisis), which in professional sports lexicon is known as a Heidi Moment. Same thing they did when the PSL runs overtime on Saturdays. They had no choice but to finish the game on AksyonTV, which is also simulcasting the games.

        There is also the case of airing just one Final Four game on TV5 last year, again because of tighter scheduling. And there is also a case of two Final Four games not airing on TV5 due to the Janet Lim-Napoles hearings. Whatever the reason, the NCAA seems fed up with TV5’s actions, considering the problems the network faced in those three years.

      • Going back to the NCAA on ABS, they’ll be starting over again. I’m expecting new voices from the broadcast booth this year, in the same way Sports5 started when they once had the NC.

  4. James Ty III says:

    When the NC started airing on TV5, they used some of Sports5’s PBA sportscasters like James Velasquez, Dominic Uy and Aaron Atayde, who by the way, is in trouble with many Ginebra fans after his kangkong joke on Dylan Ababou on Sports360 last Sunday.

    The Ginebra fans found Atayde’s waving of a kangkong plant in front of Ababou as very insulting.

    • Don’t mention the Atayde incident here. We already know that, so no nonsense info here.

      We should think of potential young voices who could fit the bill for the NCAA on ABS. If ABS wants a few holdovers, fine, but younger voices should fit the bill too.

  5. James Ty III says:

    To Roman Reigns: Brawls have always been a part of the NCAA. It’s sad it had to happen but it did happen. Even when the NCAA was still with ABS-CBN, there were some instances that brawls happened, but not as serious as the one between Mapua and EAC.

    Ralph, on the frequent cutting of the NCAA’s airtime on TV5, that’s why ABS-CBN put up its Sports+Action channel so it can fully focus on sports while news is on ANC.

    It was obvious from the start that TV5 never cared about the NCAA. As proof, their cheerleading competition was done on a weekday and not too many people filled up the MOA Arena.

  6. James Ty III says:

    The death of Butch Maniego leaves a big void for ABS-CBN Sports when it covers the NCAA this season. It will be up to the network to find a good replacement.

  7. Nameless says:

    As a fan of NCAA, specifically a fan of Red Lions and Cubs, the only thing na magandang nagawa ng Kapatid channel sa ligang ito is ‘yung online Money Ball promo nito and online livestreaming thru N5E, pero minsan napaka-unreliable din due to its low-quality picture reception and sometimes not available pa. What I noticed about Sports5, ay nag-focus sila masyado sa PBA. Well, dahil ang head ng sports department ng network is highly associated sa pro league, despite the fact that his son is now a player of Red Lions (Ice Reyes). Oh yes, it’s crystal clear that tv5 mistreated the league in terms of marketing. As a fact, ‘yung Semerad Twins lang ang mas binigyan nila ng showbiz exposure, dahil well-known models na sila. Eh ang dami-daming din gwapo sa NCAA na may showbiz potential aside from them, right? Unlike sa UAAP on Kapamilya network where those faces of Kiefer, Jeron and others can be seen in most of their shows, even in a teleserye (Princess & I).

    Sana rin naman, i-treat na rin nila ng maayos ang NCAA Volleyball by covering its full season too, like UAAP. Dahil mas lumalakas na rin ang fandom ng volleyball dito sa PH. At para mapansin rin naman ang kanilang talents for future goals sa mga int’l VBall tournaments. But I still wonder kung bakit hindi na sila naglalaro sa Araneta. They’re more on SJ Arena and MoA (w/c seems so malayo).

    • The Moneyball game simply wrecked everything. Sorry but it was not a good tool to promote the league, when its main concern is always school pride. Nawala ang focus sa mga schools dahil diyan sa Moneyball; cheering squads should have been the focus of halftime, and TV5 blew it.

      Also, the livestream part only came in Season 90. Kung pinatupad nila ito as early as their AKTV days, it would have benefited them. Kaso hindi, late na ang nangyari. Imagine the amount of coverage lost due to SONA and other news events; kung may livestream na at the time it would have saved them.

      As for NCAA volleyball, it would take awhile before they can be taken notice of. Again, ABS only promised to cover the Final Four because of their prior commitments to the UAAP, whose basketball season coincides with the beginning of NC volleyball. In short, baby steps muna ang gagawin nila sa NC volleyball.

  8. James Ty III says:

    Moneyball is more fit for PBA. In the NCAA, it could induce students into gambling.

    Regarding volleyball, TV5 covered the NCAA volleyball only during the semis and finals. That will be the same set-up with ABS.

    • Same setup due to UAAP basketball happening during the start of NC volleyball.

      The Moneyball game was TV5’s last-ditch effort to save their NCAA coverage. As it turned out, it did more harm than good, as you said, not only addictive and prone to gambling, but also detrimental to school spirit and pride that a college game represents.

    • Same setup due to UAAP basketball happening during the start of NC volleyball.

      The Moneyball game was TV5’s last-ditch effort to save their NCAA coverage. As it turned out, it did more harm than good, as you said, not only addictive and prone to gambling, but also detrimental to school spirit and pride that a college game represents.

  9. Gab says:

    Moving on to the style of student CSRs (applied better to UAAP), S+A NCAA’s coverage will featured Hero TV jock and once a big winner of PBB Teens, Myrtle Sarrosa as their courtside reporter.

    Can you breakdown the details of this tommorow, Tuesday on your blog?

      • James Ty III says:

        In fairness to ABS-CBN, the network did not conduct auditions for student courtside reporters owing to lack of time. Remember that ABS and the NCAA came to terms only a month ago after negotiations with TV5 broke down.

        And at least, no Moneyball-like halftime games on ABS-CBN for the NCAA.

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