entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Evaluating the First Month of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports V.2

The NCAA’s return to ABS-CBN Sports has been a good one so far. (Logo courtesy of the NCAA)

The second incarnation of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now a month old.

The oldest collegiate league in the country returned to ABS-CBN Sports in hopes of getting back on track. So far, though, viewers were treated to a slightly similar broadcast approach as the one that Sports5 previously handled, with a few differences of course.

Here’s a look at how ABS-CBN was able to make their mark on the league so far.

Use of Taglish

Unexpectedly, the network decided to use Taglish while calling the games. In their first run from 2002-12, ABS-CBN Sports announcers called the NCAA games in English, but with Sports+Action increasingly attracting a mass audience, the use of Taglish was necessitated.

This was the same approach that TV5 used when they covered the NCAA, but unfortunately for them, they failed to catch on for various reasons.

Emphasis on Social Media

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports also tapped in a new market called social media. Throughout each game, tweets and Instagram posts from players, fans and even basketball enthusiasts are read by the announcers in relation to the game at hand, with an official hashtag to boot.

They even allow announcers to take pre-game selfies (a novel practice in sports broadcasting), which are then posted to their individual Instagram accounts. And for the curious viewers, graphics of the announcers’ names now include their Twitter and/or Instagram accounts.

New Announcers

Speaking of announcers, ABS-CBN Sports employed a mix of young and experienced broadcasters to the NCAA game. Anton Roxas and Andrei Felix were carried over from the original incarnation, while Boom Labrusca, who also doubles as a courtside reporter, is a neophyte to the play-by-play profession.

Unlike TV5 which used former professional players as analysts, ABS-CBN hired mostly former collegiate standouts in order to relate better with the college game. The network has used Mikee Reyes, Migs Bustos, Martin Antonio and Olsen Racela to analyze the games, with Racela having also worked with the Sports5 crew in the past.

Familiar and Not-So Familiar Courtside Reporters

Those who have watched the NCAA so far may notice some familiar and unsuspecting faces to the courtside reporter spot. Before the season began, ABS-CBN Sports announced that cosplayer, Hero TV jock and former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ housemate Myrtle Sarrosa would be one of the courtside reporters for the season.

Since then, Myrtle was joined by the aforementioned Boom Labrusca, followed by Ceej Tantengco and Rox Montealegre. Quite a familiar bunch, but one with little experience to the world of sports.

The ABS-CBN Sports courtside reporters have three different responsibilities:

  1. To report on the teams’ strategies,
  2. To interview a player’s family members and friends, school alumni, students or fans, and
  3. To interview players and coaches during pregame and postgame (if applicable)

The said strategy is similar to what TV5 employed, but with less on-cam time.

Halftime Presentations

Halftime of each game usually consists of a brief glimpse of a school’s cheering exhibition, followed by a special feature and an analysis of the first half. For the viewers who had enough of TV5’s radical changes (e.g. Moneyball), this is a welcome development to bring back the intended mission of the NCAA: to promote loyalty, camaraderie and school spirit.

HD Broadcasts and Return of Smart and PLDT

In a surprise move, ABS-CBN welcomed Smart and PLDT as sponsors. The two telecommunications outfits are a sister company of ABS-CBN’s competitor TV5, which is a stunning move to say the least.

And finally, the NCAA games are now broadcast in its full 16:9 HD glory. While ABS-CBN Sports was the first to broadcast an event in HD, they did not fully take advantage of the new technology until this year.

So far, it’s been a beneficial first month of NCAA coverage. And while some would disagree with these moves, ABS-CBN is clearly intent on taking serious steps to make the NCAA more appealing to the masses.

The season is still a long way to go, but from the looks of it, the NCAA has found a perfect partner to thrive with. With a few tweaks, expect this partnership to last a lot longer.


26 thoughts on “Evaluating the First Month of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports V.2

  1. Nameless says:

    I have to give a round of applause sa Kapamilya sports for making such efforts for NCAA. Napansin ko nga na mas marami na silang hashtags for every game, kung saan mas ine-emphasize nila ang social media interaction. Pero I hope mas dumami pa ang sponsors nila soon, aside from MVP’s companies.

    BTW, for the 2nd time since 2014, NCAA tickets looks like colored raffle tickets.

    • It doesn’t matter if the tickets look bad. Wala na sa control natin yan. And besides, ten years is plenty of time for ABS to make its stamp on the NCAA. TV5 couldn’t do that in three years. Time is definitely of the essence when it comes to improving the league’s standing.

      • James Ty III says:

        ABS-CBN kasi has a channel totally devoted to sports. TV5 is more concerned supporting commercial sports leagues. With ABS-CBN, the NCAA coverage can go overtime since there is no primetime newscast on S+A unlike on TV5 and Aksyon TV.

      • Yes we know that. Pang-collegiate league ang ABS but their NCAA coverage now seems similar to TV5 with a few additional details, which is why I elaborated it.

    • Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

      Well, I think (based on some traditions), they will be different in broadcast coverage. UAAP will have Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays as game days. Also, UAAP have courtside reporters from different schools, so yes they will be different from NCAA. UAAP, if some of you may noticed very well, uses a Nike Elite basketball as their official basketball. Unlike in NCAA, they still sticked to Molten GL7 (I think) as their official ball.

  2. Snowie says:

    I believe the UAAP will still stick to the mostly-English broadcast. Mas upscale audience na mostly from the top schools like UP, DLSU, ADMU and UST. That’s why they have most sponsors

  3. Ken Ti says:

    UAAP coverage will stay the way it is. NCAA coverage is slightly different because NCAA viewers, compared to UAAP viewers, are younger and mostly students, while a big chunk of UAAP viewers are the alumni.
    This is why we have a more youthful approach to the NCAA coverage, and so far it looks like things are going well naman 🙂 Thank you!

    • James Ty III says:

      In fairness, UAAP has a lot of student viewers as well. But in the NCAA, I’ve indeed noticed that among the alumni, only San Beda and Letran have a lot of graduates watching the games.

      • That’s why students are the priority of ABS when they reacquired the NCAA. Knowing that only a few know their varsity teams and the league well, it’s best for ABS to acquaint these students into watching the games.

  4. Believe That (Roman Reigns) says:

    I am happy that ABS-CBN did great in handling the NCAA Season 91 coverage. But, I was kind of hoping that they would have representatives from each school to be the court side reporter. Also, games during weekdays are quite difficult for most to watch since Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are working days. I hope before the UAAP would start their season, they might try to take advantage of a weekend game atleast for a short while. Para makanood naman ung iba.

    • as much as they want to, since its cheaper availability ng courtside reporters ang problema especially kung may klase ung mga may capacity to be a court side reporters. Nde nman nila priority un at kung pumalpak school name ang nakasalalay

    • as much as they want to, since its cheaper availability ng courtside reporters ang problema especially kung may klase ung mga may capacity to be a court side reporters. Nde nman nila priority un at kung pumalpak school name ang nakasalalay.

      • And besides, the auditions are a tad too late to materialize since ABS and NCAA only got to an agreement last May. As mentioned by Mr. Ken Ti, NCAA has a more youthful audience, thus ABS is using a different approach.

  5. Believe That says:

    The 91st Season of NCAA for the men’s basketball is about to come to an end. So far, their return to the ABS-CBN Sports already made a very interesting impact and chaos among schools through the standing. 3 schools are tied with the same standing. This means that they will have to compete in a playoff in order to determine the final four. Meanwhile, the top 2 schools will also have a playoff or tie-breaker game in order to determine the #1 seed for the twice to beat advantage, since they both have same standings. Fortunately, JRU is sure for 3rd spot due to quotient rule when there is a tie breaker. This leads to Mapua vs AU battling for final spot in the Final 4. This is a very rare case.

    Anyways, their first season back in the ABS-CBN Sports was an astonishing and it made the league interesting to watch again. Thanks to their strong media coverage, they made the league to trend on twitter as well. This is something that Sports 5 wasn’t able to deliver except during the MIT – EAC brawl (which brought bad publicity). My question is will they be able to air a Finals game on their mother network ABS-CBN, just like on the UAAP or will they stick to Sports and Action? I figured the schedule if they will allow this to happen.

    • Believe That says:

      Sorry just a correction. The winner of the AU vs Mapua tie-breaker game will face JRU for the 3rd spot. JRU is sure in the final four, but their rank can go down on whoever will win the AU vs MIT do or die game.

      • Let’s leave the Channel 2 option for now. Remember, the NCAA only plays on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and it may conflict with the teleseryes that air on the said channel.

        Either way, it’s been a good first year for the NCAA and ABS-CBN Sports.

      • Believe That says:

        Indeed its been a great season. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals will be happening already this Friday. It’s quite fast though, knowing it is the finals. It is CSJL vs SBC battling again. This shall be a great game though as this is like the ADMU vs DLSU of the NCAA from UAAP.

        It’s been great since NCAA already trended a lot of times under ABS-CBN unlike in their tenure in Sports 5. Hoping this could be done the same on their Volleyball games on the days to come this season.

      • Although, NCAA women’s volleyball coverage will only be from the Final Four to the championship. In any event, we won’t see further NCAA coverage after basketball, unless ABS decides to show some highlights on other sports via The Score.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s