Philippines, satellite TV, Sports, television

With PBA Rush, League’s Future with TV5 Appears Secure

Cignal’s newest channel, PBA Rush, was launched July 17, at a time when the league’s future with parent network TV5 is in doubt. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine Basketball Association, Cignal Digital TV)

Looks like loyal followers of the PBA will have nothing to worry about as far as television coverage is concerned.

Yesterday, the league and Cignal joined forces to launch a 24-hour channel called PBA Rush. Available exclusively on Cignal SD channel 52 and HD channel 129, the channel will feature live PBA games, as well as special league-centric programming and classic games.

Prior to the official unveiling of PBA Rush, the channel had been airing in test broadcast since early July. During that period, it aired replays of the season’s two previous tournaments (Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup), as well as the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.

The decision to launch PBA Rush came at a not-so opportune time. The ongoing Governors’ Cup was to be the league’s last hurrah with TV5, and with the network enduring a lot of problems with its programming, it seems obvious that the PBA could be on its way out.

But where will the PBA go at this point? Here’s a look at how the other free TV channels stack up as far as the league is concerned (only VHF channels are listed here, as the PBA prefers to airs games on that platform only).

ABS-CBN – The Kapamilya network has expressed interest in airing the PBA games for a long time. However, what holds them back is their reluctance to air the games on primetime, the league’s long-standing decision to air games on VHF channels only, and the sports division’s loaded lineup.

PTV-4 – The PBA and the People’s Network are no stranger to each other, having been partners during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. But with the network undergoing a rebuilding phase under PCOO secretary and former TV5 personality Martin Andanar, it is unlikely that a reunion will take place in the foreseeable future.

GMA/GMA News TV – Sporting events and GMA have been few and far between since the network switched from a rainbow logo to a rainbow-colored heart logo. And with the Kapuso network already in a spending binge thanks to the return of ‘Encantadia’, it is unlikely that GMA will pursue the PBA (and any other sporting event for that matter) anytime soon.

RPN-9/CNN Philippines – Before RPN-9 became the home of CNN Philippines, it used to air PBA games in the 1970s and more recently in the late 2000s. However, since CNN has content rights to the local version of the channel, there is no way that a reunion with the PBA will happen as long as they’re here.

IBC-13 – The PBA and IBC has had three different stints under three different partners: Vintage/VIVA TV, PTV-4 and Sports5. But with the embattled network currently up for sale, any further return is not in the cards for now.

That said, it is a safe bet that the PBA and TV5 will renew their contract soon after the conclusion of the Governors’ Cup. Then again, any contract renewal may no longer be a possibility, since the launch of PBA Rush essentially extended PBA’s relationship with TV5 for the foreseeable amount of time.

Still, it remains to be seen if the launch of PBA Rush will pay dividends. But let’s just hope that the channel will not pose a threat to Manny V. Pangilinan’s pocket.

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Philippines, Sports, television

PBA, UAAP to Face Off Starting Sunday

The PBA Philippine Cup begins this Sunday, with the San Miguel Beermen trying to defend the crown. The early games of the tournament will go head-to-head with the ongoing UAAP men’s basketball eliminations. (Photo credit: Businessworld)

The PBA and the UAAP will cross paths on the small screen once more.

For the first time, the opening day of the PBA Philippine Cup will take place while the UAAP men’s basketball eliminations are still ongoing. This was made possible by the latter’s most recent calendar change.

Previously, the UAAP men’s basketball tournament was played from July to October. But with most member schools adjusting their calendar to be at par with other foreign institutions, the UAAP decided to move its season opening to September, and with it rescheduled the basketball season from September to November.

This means that the elimination round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament will now have to compete with the PBA Philippine Cup once the latter opens in October*. Both leagues primarily play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena; thus, they need to agree in advance on the availability of both venues.

Sunday’s PBA Philippine Cup opener at the Big Dome will feature the customary opening ceremony, followed by a game between the Star Hotshots and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. On the same day, the UAAP will hold a men’s basketball twinbill at MOA, pitting UE and UP, and La Salle and FEU.

The PBA games will be aired on TV5, AksyonTV and Sports5.PH, with a radio broadcast on Radyo5 stations. The UAAP games are currently seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 195, iWanTV and ABS-CBN Sports official website.

* The UAAP men’s basketball games previously took place alongside PBA import-laden tournaments (e.g. Fiesta Conference, Governors’ Cup).

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