Philippines, Sports, television

FTT Rants: PBA Postpones Ginebra-Rain or Shine Game 2, But Makes Foolish Move

Talk about an unexpected postponement in the heat of the moment.

Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals between the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel was supposed to be played Tuesday night. Instead, severe monsoon rains caused by typhoon Henry forced the league to postpone the game for the sake of safety to the players, staff and spectators.

But rather than moving said game to later tonight, the PBA made a seemingly foolish decision. They decided to reschedule Game 2 of Ginebra-Rain or Shine to Thursday night, while keeping Game 3 of the Alaska Aces-San Miguel Beermen series to its original schedule.

Considering that the Beermen are up by two games over the Aces and on the verge of a sweep, it puts both Ginebra and Rain or Shine at a distinct disadvantage. Should the latter series go to a Game 5 next Wednesday and assuming San Miguel would in fact sweep Alaska tonight, the Beermen will have the luxury of rest while their opponent will head to the finals weary and exhausted.

Even if the San Miguel-Alaska series goes to a Game 5, the winner of said series will still have a longer break compared to its opponent. Game 5, if necessary, will be played Sunday.

If that is the case, the PBA is dead set on giving the Beermen an easier path to a second straight Commissioner’s Cup title and perhaps another opportunity to earn the elusive Grand Slam. In many ways, that would be bad for the league’s reputation.

Then again, though, Game 3 between Alaska and San Miguel is still in doubt. At the moment, the PBA has yet to make a decision regarding the game as they continue to observe the ongoing weather conditions.

If they postpone tonight’s game as well, it will be a win-win situation to all four teams. Maybe it’s for the best if they suspend Game 3 as well.

Ginebra is currently leading their semifinal series against Rain or Shine 1-0. As previously mentioned, San Miguel is one win away from the finals against Alaska.

In the meantime, here is a public service announcement regarding tickets to the Ginebra-Rain or Shine series.

UPDATE: Game 3 of the San Miguel-Alaska series is now postponed to Friday, July 20.

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entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, reality show, Sports, talent show, television

GMA’s The Clash Endures Poor Reviews and Bad Ratings After Two Weeks

Welp!

Four episodes in and ‘The Clash’ does not look too enticing to say the least. The GMA singing competition show is off to a poor start, both critically and commercially.

During the weekend of July 7, ‘The Clash”s ratings were at 19.4 and 19.6% on Saturday and Sunday respectively. On the other hand, ABS-CBN’s ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ season 2 ended with 32.2 and 34.1%.

But it is not just the underwhelming ratings that hurt ‘The Clash’. From the moment it aired viewers complained about the bad lighting, shaky camera angles, awful sound quality and fake audience reactions.

Much of the blame was pointed to director Louie Ignacio. Despite the fact that he is one of the most in-demand directors in television, people can’t help but think why this man had to be at the helm of ‘The Clash’ when in fact he had been the culprit for the downfall of ‘Party Pilipinas’ several years ago.

And while GMA claimed that ‘The Clash”s pilot episode topped Twitter’s trending topics, the overwhelmingly negative reception to the program muted this achievement. But things only got worse for ‘The Clash’.

The second weekend of ‘The Clash’ last July 14-15 saw the program dip to 17.3% and 17.6% in the ratings. Meanwhile, ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ remained consistent, posting figures of 33.4 and 32.4%.

There were still some negative reactions from netizens but the impact was less considerable from the first weekend. As a result, ‘The Clash’ became a non-factor on Twitter whereas ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ got a boost thanks to Marco Masa’s winning portrayal of Enrique Gil.

The good news for ‘The Clash’ is that the competition still has a long way to go. Judging them as a flop after only four episodes may be a tad premature.

But how much longer can the viewers tolerate a mess of a talent show? Unless certain improvements are to be made in terms of presentation, public sentiment against ‘The Clash’ will only grow from hereon.

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Philippines, Sports, television

No More: Solar Sports Not Involved in Pacquiao Fight vs. Matthysse

For the first time since 2006, a new Manny Pacquiao fight was not aired on Solar Sports.

Manny Pacquiao’s latest bout, a seventh round knockout win over Lucas Matthysse to capture the WBA Welterweight Title, was conspicuously absent from Solar Sports programming. The reason: MP Productions, led by Arnold Vegafria, chose not to sign a broadcast deal with Solar Sports for the aforementioned event.

The last time Solar Sports was not involved in the broadcast of a Manny Pacquiao fight was in 2006. That year, ABS-CBN exclusively aired Pacquiao’s fight with Oscar Larios which took place in the Philippines.

In the months leading up to the bout, Solar Sports aired some of Pacquiao’s classic matches every Friday night in hopes of getting a call from Arnold Vegafria. But when the network announced its upcoming list of programs for July 2018, Pacquiao vs. Matthysse was nowhere to be found.

No reason was given behind MP Productions’ decision. However, considering that Solar Sports is now airing less popular sporting events and the circumstances that followed Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn last year, it only made sense for MP to cease ties with the said network.

On a related note, MP was able to secure television deals with ABS-CBN, The 5 Network, GMA, SkyCable and Cignal for the broadcast and distribution of Pacquiao vs. Matthysse. This marked the first time since the heavily-hyped Pacquiao bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 that the Philippines’ three broadcast giants collaborated for the occasion.

Luckily for the three networks, Pacquiao secured his first knockout victory since 2009. The win came as a surprise to many considering Pacquiao’s age (the fighting senator is 39), his lack of power punching ability relative to his age, and his decision not to have long-time confidant Freddie Roach as his trainer for the bout.

Unfortunately for Solar Sports, Pacquiao’s victory was not only a lost opportunity but also the last straw. Manny Pacquiao bouts had been Solar Sports’ last ticket to relevance in recent years, but without him and his drawing power, the network is now fighting for survival.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Philippines-Australia FIBA Basketball Game Earns an SPG Rating

Call it the ‘BasketBrawl in Bocaue’.

The FIBA Asia qualifying game between the Philippines and Australia at the Philippine Arena Monday night was marred by a bench-clearing brawl. The following posts should summarize the series of events that took place.

At the moment, FIBA is still taking a closer look at the incident, with the possibility of sanctions and suspensions to be announced in the coming days. Meanwhile, Basketball Australia and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas issued an official statement with regards to the brawl, while players expressed remorse on social media over their involvement.

This incident became the talk of the sporting world for all the wrong reasons. And as expected many netizens on social media were not happy about a competitive basketball game turning into a wrestling match.

The Philippines-Australia match was aired live on T5N last night and like all live sporting events on Philippine free TV it earned a Parental Guidance (PG) rating from the MTRCB. However, in subsequent rebroadcasts of the match on T5N and AksyonTV, MTRCB gave it a Strong Parental Guidance (SPG) rating for language and violence in light of the incident.

Never before in Philippine television history has a non-combat sporting event earn an SPG rating due to circumstances beyond its control. While live sports is usually attended and watched to by people of all ages, such incidents are sometimes unavoidable and can also be traumatizing.

Still, such untoward incidents would have been prevented had the referees lay down the law and play the peacemaker role between two sides. Unfortunately for the referees in Bocaue, it’s either they are not competent or strict enough to do their job.

That said, this incident between the Philippines and Australia will forever live on in Philippine television infamy, both for its impact and its consequences in the game of basketball. It will be interesting to see what new narratives will come out of this, so stay tuned for further details.

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cable TV, entertainment, movies, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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