entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

A Lesson Learned: The Success of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition

Defending champions in both the Cheerdance and Group Stunts competitions, the NU Cheering Squad will try to do one better this Sunday in the 2014 UAAP Cheerdance Competition. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

On Sunday, cheering squads of the eight UAAP schools will once again take center stage.

The UAAP Cheerdance Competition, now on its 20th edition, will take place inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum on September 14. The can’t miss event of the UAAP season besides men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, the Cheerdance Competition has been steadily growing in popularity since ABS-CBN Sports took over league broadcast rights in Season 63 (2000-01).

While it does not have any effect on the overall championship tally, fans, students and alumni will nevertheless enjoy every moment of the cheering squads’ execution of stunts, leaps, tumbles and special themes, not to mention the loud cheers and the banging drums. The unpredictable nature of the event makes for some compelling television.

So it was not a surprise to see why the recent editions of the Cheerdance Competition became social media hits. ABS-CBN Sports has done a very good job in hyping the event in advance, and the fans, whether they are watching in person, on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, on Balls HD 167, or on UAAP’s livestream website, were invested into the network’s early bird promotion.

This was in contrast to the recent NCAA Cheerleading Competition that was held at the Mall of Asia Arena last March. Poor attendance, poor viewership, lack of sponsors, and poor hype were the reasons why no one paid attention to NCAA’s own version. And TV5, the league’s coveror, paid dearly for it.

If there’s a league that can make cheerdancing a popular spectacle even for just one day, it’s the UAAP. The Cheerdance Competition is the time of the year where the cheering squads of the eight member schools try to one-up each other by performing routines that are difficult, impressive and creatively planned to near-perfection. And the fans buy into each performance.

This year’s competition will be no different, as defending champion NU Cheering Squad and the seven others will try to improve on last year’s routines. The UAAP Cheerdance Competition is expected to be another 20k-attended event, and millions will surely talk about it on social media before, during, and after the event.

One final note: For those in search of some eye candy, pay attention to Boom Gonzales’ dazzling co-host for Sunday afternoon, as well as the season’s courtside reporters in their respective schools’ gear. The Cheerdance Competition will not be complete without them.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on the NCAA All-Star Game

 

Without star foreigners such as San Beda’s Ola Adeogun, the NCAA All-Star Game is definitely not as exciting and as compelling to watch. (Photo credit: NCAA.org.ph)

On its 90th season, the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the Philippines makes its biggest surprise yet.

This Saturday, the NCAA will hold its first-ever All-Star Game, featuring the league’s key players in the seniors basketball tournament. The event, along with the Miss NCAA, Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk Contests, will be held at the FilOil Flying V Arena (or San Juan Arena according to Sports5 announcers) beginning at 2:30 p.m. on TV5 and AksyonTV.

Proceeds for the NCAA All-Star Game will go for the benefit of Hospicio de San Jose, the NCAA personnel assistance fund, and the NCAA players in the national team.

Controversy surrounded the NCAA All-Star Game in the days leading up to the event. Upon the release of the rosters for both the East and West teams, only the local players were included, leaving foreign players such as Ola Adeogun, Cedric Noube Happi and Dioncee Holts out of the game. Adeogun even went as far as tweeting that they should hold their own All-Star Game in the Manila Zoo.

Regarding the snub, NCAA Management Committee (ManCom) chairman Paul Supan explained that it was the coaches who were asked to recommend players, and that they should select three from each school to ensure a fair representation. In another interview, Supan and ManCom member Peter Cayco added that the exclusion of foreigners is intended to ensure a more balanced and competitive matchup.

There is a reason why it was called an ‘All-Star Game’: it was designed to attract the most productive, talented and attractive stars in the game, And with the exclusion of star foreigners like Adeogun and Noube Happi, as well as more productive players like Jonathan Grey, there is definitely nothing to excite about the NCAA All-Star Game.

There is also another concern surrounding the All-Star Game: the attendance. There is a reason why the NCAA decided to hold the event at the smaller FilOil Flying V Arena: to avoid a repeat of last March’s poorly-attended NCAA Cheerleading Competition at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But even with a smaller venue, filling it to capacity remains a daunting task to the league, considering the lack of star power. Like last March’s Cheerleading Competition, the lack of promotion by Sports5 is giving the NCAA a lot of trouble, and it will be doubtful if the All-Star Game will be filled to capacity at all.

And finally, as mentioned, only the seniors basketball players were included to participate in the All-Star Game. The NCAA is a collegiate league with a variety of other sports, but with only seniors basketball being represented in this event, what is the point of holding the All-Star Game when only this discipline was emphasized?

Worse, the All-Star Game had nothing to do with the general championship race, so it is expected that it will only be a fun track meet rather than an important date in the schedule.

That said, this NCAA All-Star Game, despite its devotion to a good cause, is just a mere a distraction to a long NCAA basketball season. And unfortunately, this is not worth watching.

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