Philippines, Sports, television

Overview: NCAA Season 91 on ABS-CBN Sports

The NCAA Season 91 begins this Saturday, with San Beda trying to win an unprecedented sixth seniors’ title in a row. (Photo credit:

NCAA Season 91 is five days away.

The latest season of the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league will emanate from the Mall of Asia Arena, where the opening ceremonies and a seniors basketball doubleheader will kick things off. The doubleheader will pit defending champion San Beda versus season host Mapua, and Season 90 runner-up Arellano against perennial contender JRU.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts, as ABS-CBN Sports will once again handle the television broadcasts for the NCAA games. The said network recently inked a ten-year contract that would lead up to the league’s centennial season.

A new format for weekly games is also in order. Like last season, seven seniors games will be held per week, but the new scheme will now feature doubleheaders on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a tripleheader on Fridays.

Other than the opening doubleheaders, which are scheduled at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, all games in the first round will be held at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. The second round schedule, to be released once the first round is finished, will feature most games in San Juan and may feature some marquee games at the MOA.

All of the aforementioned games will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, and will be simulcast in high definition on Balls HD. Online livestreaming of the games will also be available on, while same-day replays will be aired in the evening on Balls.

ABS-CBN Sports will utilize the following on-air talents for the NCAA games (tentative as of June 23, 2015):


  • Anton Roxas
  • Andrei Felix


  • Martin Antonio
  • Migs Bustos
  • Mikee Reyes
  • Allan Gregorio
  • Olsen Racela

Courtside reporter

  • Myrtle Sarrosa

By all accounts, it seems that ABS-CBN Sports will be using TV5’s approach in handling games, at least for this season. But don’t expect Moneyball or some other gimmick to show up during ABS-CBN’s coverage.

The selection of Sarrosa as the sole courtside reporter was also an interesting decision by network management, since ABS-CBN Sports popularized the use of students as courtside reporters for their schools. But with the network short of time to prepare for the NCAA games, they decided to tap the ‘Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4’ winner instead.

In addition to seniors basketball, ABS-CBN Sports will also air highlights to the other NCAA disciplines. Finals of juniors basketball and the final four of women’s volleyball will likewise be aired.

The return of the NCAA to ABS-CBN Sports should help reestablish order and prominence within the league. It remains to be seen if the latter can improve the shortcomings that Sports5 endured, but from their previous experience covering the NCAA, they should do just fine.

NCAA Season 91 unwraps this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD and


31 thoughts on “Overview: NCAA Season 91 on ABS-CBN Sports

  1. James Ty III says:

    Let’s give Myrtle a chance. Who knows, she may be even better than Mara Aquino although Rizza Diaz is the standard.

  2. Gab says:

    I’m watching right now. this is the first sports coverage on ABS-CBN Sports that used in HD letter box bars (16:9) on their own channel

    • Nauna pa sila sa TV5. I was expecting TV5 to do the same on the PBA after adopting that in their news programs, but that wasn’t the case. Perhaps TV5 is waiting for the 41st season to put in the letterboxes during PBA games.

      Anyway, another aspect that ABS carried over from TV5’s NCAA coverage was social media interaction, which they further expanded to include official hashtags and player and fan tweets. And by the way, even Smart and PLDT logos, which ABS notoriously banned in the past, are now being plugged in-game.

      • Gab says:

        more points:
        >they’re now advertising PLDT and SMART who used to be the main sponsor of Sports5 coverages.

        >the anchors are now using Taglish for their commentaries (just like Sports5 did)

        >myrtle’s first day in her job was not too bad but plenty good, sabi ng kaibigan ko, nangangapa pa sa kanyang bagong trabaho

        >as requested, no more Moneyball on halftime. cheerdance breaks are prevailing

      • We can give Myrtle some time to get used to her new role. Let’s just hope that ABS won’t make her do two games like what Sports5 did with their reporters.

        The tripleheaders on Fridays should be interesting though. Sports5 couldn’t do a tripleheader due to scheduling constraints, but it’s now possible with Sports+Action due to its open programming lineup.

      • The reason why Smart-PLDT ads are banned from ABS. It actually because of their partnership with Globe which is ABS-CBN. They banned MVP Group of Company Ads except Meralco because the Lopez still owns a minority share with Meralco from late 2013 until Sept. 30 last year. During the UAAP final 4 between DLSU and FEU, ABS break the rule and air an ad from Smart which I remember is their Free Internet ad. Pati nga Smart Araneta Collesium nga e di buo na sinabi pag may promo ng concert ng kanilang mga artist.

      • We already know that. It was quite surprising for ABS to promote Smart and PLDT during the NCAA games today, considering the past history between the Lopezes and MVP.

  3. Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

    Just watched the NCAA Opening. It was really better to see them back in ABS-CBN Sports and Action. The NCAA in ABS-CBN made me be as if I am watching UAAP. Indeed they made the right call. Hope they would stay forever in the Kapamilya network. Kudos for them.

    • For now it’s 10 years. But as far as the broadcast aspect is concerned, they basically kept some of the elements that TV5 did, save for the infamous Moneyball game.

  4. James Ty III says:

    The only difference I see between then and now is that ABS-CBN Sports used Taglish for their NCAA coverages. During the time of Bill Velasco and the late Butch Maniego, ABS-CBN used English for the NCAA broadcasts.

  5. Nameless says:

    Monday, Tuesday and Thursday ang NCAA games. Pero parang hindi ko mae-enjoy ang panonood ng live games because those given days (and even timeslots) are on a “heavy-traffic/rush-hour” mode along the roads. The good thing is, the Kapamilya sports channel is now using a new screen resolution in broadcasting these games, similar sa AKSYON newscasts (para magmukhang-HD). Sana ilagay na lang muna nila ang NCAA games on a UAAP-mode days habang hindi pa nagsisimula ang Season 78 ng latter.

    Myrtle, the cosplayer-turned-CSR for this league. Hmmm… Pareho na sila ng job ni Brian Poe na nasa CNN PH ngayon.

    Well, halata ngang naubusan ng time ang Kapamilya in prepping for NCAA. But we hope na hindi sila maging bias sa pag-aaruga nila for this league. #NoBias

    • Correction: It’s now Tuesday-Thursday-Friday, with Fridays aired as a tripleheader. Saka madami nang bago ang NC sa ABS. They even employ a mala-TV5 na approach, minus Moneyball of course.

      Myrtle is not the only CSR for the NCAA. Boom Labrusca also handles the same role.

  6. James Ty III says:

    Sometimes, Boom and TJ speak Taglish in their UAAP coverages on Sports+Action. But not as frequently as what they do on Ch 2.

  7. Gab says:

    Can you please update the post? Boom Labrusca, Ceej Tantengco and Roxanne Montealegre will also be handling the courtside reporting jobs, aside for Myrtle.

  8. Dindin Ko says:

    ABS-CBN has been broadcasting in HD since before the NCAA left for TV5 where the games were broadcast in SD. It is not “mukhang HD”. How else can it air on Balls HD if it is SD pretending to be HD? #commonsense

    • Only Balls HD broadcasted the NCAA games in HD the last time around. ABS still aired the games in SD then, though now with HD cameras. The graphics were fitted to SD standards at the time.

      To be clear, the 4:3 aspect ratio is used for SD broadcasts, while 16:9 is used for HD. Only this year did ABS finally air the NCAA games in 16:9 (with graphics now taking advantage of said aspect ratio), albeit with letterboxes for the benefit of TVs still under the 4:3 format.

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