Philippines, Sports, television

What Happened to ABS-CBN Sports’ Top Rank Boxing?

An eight-year relationship came to an end when Top Rank Boxing ceased to air on ABS-CBN’s S+A earlier this month. (Logo courtesy of Top Rank)

A long-time ally of ABS-CBN Sports has called it quits.

On March 5, ABS-CBN Sports quietly cancelled the long-running boxing show ‘Top Rank Boxing’ off the network’s S+A channel. The announcement came shortly before the promotion decided to cease ties with Nonito Donaire after an eight-year relationship.

It can be recalled that in late 2009, ABS-CBN Sports and Top Rank joined forces in a broadcast deal that would showcase the latter’s top fighters. This resulted in ‘Top Rank Boxing’, a program that soon became a staple on Channel 23’s two iterations (Studio 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action/S+A).

Airing every Sunday afternoon, ‘Top Rank Boxing’ gave boxing fans a peek at the promotion’s current and future stars. The show was hosted by Anton Roxas and Atty. Ed Tolentino for a majority of its seven-year run.

While most of the fights on the show were previously recorded, there were some occasions where a fight card was shown on a delayed basis. Not only that, some editions of ‘Top Rank Boxing’ were aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2, particularly the fights involving Nonito Donaire.

Despite its premise of showing the best fighters, there was one top boxer with which ABS-CBN Sports has no rights to. Manny Pacquiao, considered to be Top Rank’s biggest asset, has broadcast ties with both Solar Sports and GMA Network, thus prohibiting ABS-CBN from showcasing the Pacman.

Solar and GMA’s deal with Pacquiao also prevented ABS-CBN from airing Nonito Donaire’s final fight as a Top Rank fighter on November 6, when he fought Jessie Magdaleno in a losing effort. Despite that, ABS-CBN did air a Pacquiao fight when it showcased the mega-bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 alongside TV5, GMA and Solar Sports.

With the cancellation of ‘Top Rank Boxing’, ABS-CBN Sports’ focus on the sport will shift full-time to Michael Aldeguer’s ALA Promotions. The ‘Pinoy Pride’ series, which continues to take place on certain dates of the year, will remain on the ABS-CBN Sports’ roster of programs.

As for Nonito Donaire, good luck in finding a new promoter. One can only hope that his fights will continue to air on Channel 2 for a foreseeable future, regardless of which promotion he ends up.

So long, ‘Top Rank Boxing. The Kapamilya boxing fans will miss you.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Despite New Deal with ABS-CBN, URCC Still Airs on Solar Sports

Seems like one network forgot about a new deal between the URCC and ABS-CBN Sports.

Since the start of August, rival sports network Solar Sports has been reairing classic URCC matches back when they still had the TV rights. Titled ‘URCC: Bakbakan Na’, it airs every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m.

It can be recalled that in April 2016, the URCC and ABS-CBN Sports inked a partnership deal that will see the latter air the former’s events on ABS-CBN Sports+Action in HD, SD and live stream. According to the said press release, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘official’ broadcast partner of the URCC.

The press release did not clarify if ABS-CBN’s deal with the URCC is an exclusive one. In the event that it was non-exclusive, other networks may enter the picture, and since there was no explanation, Solar Sports was able to reenter the picture by airing classic URCC bouts.

Let’s face it, had ABS-CBN branded its URCC broadcasts as ‘exclusive’, this confusion would have never happened in the first place. The former’s deal was not bad, but whatever benefits they will have by airing the URCC would be negated by another network’s continued broadcast of the said promotion’s old matches.

That said, the URCC needs to have the rights to every televised bout that once aired on other networks, not the other way around. That way, any highlight of it can be seen on the channel (in this case ABS-CBN Sports) with which they have the rights right now.

Perhaps this situation needs to be addressed by URCC founder Alvin Aguilar, ABS-CBN Sports head Dino Laurena, and Solar Entertainment head Wilson Tieng in order to avoid any further complications. After all, the URCC deserves nothing more than a good, clean fight, and a stable partnership with the network they are currently paired with.

Hopefully it is for the best that they solve this issue immediately. This one is for the fans of mixed martial arts in the Philippines, and a good product is a must for the URCC to succeed.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Koreanovelas Add to GMA News TV’s Woes

GMA News TV added Koreanovelas to its ever-confusing lineup. (Promotional photo courtesy of GMA Network)

It is hard to tell what kind of network GMA News TV is right now.

In the last three years, From the Tube has been able to dissect the programming issues that surround the sister channel of GMA Network. Whether it is movies, drama series, reruns of public affairs shows, boxing matches or even TV shopping blocks, the true identity of GMA News TV continues to be a question mark.

Now add another wrinkle to this ongoing dilemma. Enter Koreanovelas on GMA News TV.

It all started on July 11, when News TV began to air reruns of three Koreanovelas, namely ‘Empress Ki’, ‘Pinocchio’, and ‘The Producers’. All three were broadcast on GMA’s Telebabad block a few years ago, each with varying degrees of success.

By re-airing Koreanovelas from the parent network, GMA News TV is once again defying the notion that they are indeed a news channel. To make matters worse, the management made the network look as if they are a mirror image of Channel 7, or perhaps the second coming of the old QTV.

What happened to the slogans ‘Oras-oras, Alam Ko’ and ‘Serbisyong Totoo’? It doesn’t make any sense.

The issues surrounding GMA News TV have been well-documented since their 2011 rebrand. As far as the most critical viewers are concerned, News TV is ill-equipped to be a news channel based on content alone.

Let’s face it, a revamp should have been in the works for this channel at this point. Even rival AksyonTV, a one-time news channel, is gradually morphing into a sports channel in the mold of ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

That said, it is never too late for Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Nessa Valdellon to finally give up on this venture. GMA News TV is going nowhere fast, and adding Koreanovelas only made things worse.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 Needs a Revamp (Part I)

The problems surrounding TV5 has also spread to the news department.

Within two months, News5 lost two of its regular anchors to the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. In early June, Martin Andanar was appointed secretary of the Presidential Communication and Operations Office, then just recently, Cherie Mercado accepted the post of spokesperson by the Department of Transportation.

The task given to me by President Rody Duterte, to bring our government media agencies back to its good old glory days, is colossal. This requires a clear vision, 100% dedication, extraordinary capacity, political will and the grit to fight inefficiencies caused by corruption. Difficult as it may be, I wholeheartedly accepted the challenge to serve our 16th President and our Country. Now, I'm in the process of hiring the best, the brightest and the boldest. My friends, I ask for your fervent prayers and support because the road ahead will be long and rough. Thank you President Digong for the full trust and confidence. It is truly an honor to be in your cabinet. Like what President Digong always says again and again, "STOP". Yes I will do everything to STOP corruption at the Presidential Communication and Operations Office. That's my commitment. #DU30 #Stop #ChangeIsComing

A post shared by Martin Marfori Andanar (@martinmandanar) on

Martin had been the face of News5 for many years, having served as an anchor and executive, as well as the voice of Radyo5 92.3 News FM. On the other hand, Cherie was a holdover from ABC 5 during the ownership of Tonyboy Cojuangco, having been employed by the network for over a decade.

Ironically, their departures were felt by the Tulfo brothers themselves. Since Martin’s departure, Erwin Tulfo has become the sole host of his Radyo5 program ‘Punto Asintado’, while brother Raffy remained the lone anchor of ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ following Cherie’s departure (though at times he was paired with usual weather reporter Marga Vargas).

In addition, Cherie’s radio program ‘Trabaho Lang’ was cancelled following her resignation. That said, it was clear to News5 that their decision to leave for the government is a bitter pill to swallow.

But their departures are not the only reason why News5 is at an all-time low. Programming, content and questionable personnel decisions have become the Achilles’ heel of the division for a long time, and it dragged TV5 further down once they underwent a total housecleaning.

For instance, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, the newscast anchored by Raffy Tulfo, borders more towards sensationalized news. In fact, the show goes as far as to be considered a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ in newscast form, mainly due to the inclusion of the ‘Itimbre Mo Kay Tulfo’ segment.

In contrast, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ anchors Ed Lingao and Cheryl Cosim have done a great job minimizing sensationalized news in favor of national issues. That said, it’s hard to fathom why ‘Aksyon”s other newscasts failed to follow the example set by ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

Radyo5 92.3 News FM also has its own share of problems, due to the presence of vacant timeslots. The fact that they lacked any capable personnel to host its programs is a clear sign that the only news-centric FM radio station in the country is on the rocks.

The lack of public service and commentary programs on TV5 are also glaring. The only such programs that currently air on TV5 right now are ‘ReAksyon’ and ‘Alagang Kapatid’, with ‘History with Lourd’ and ‘Public Atorni’ airing reruns.

Their hiring of ‘EMAJs’ (entertainers masquerading as journalists) have also affected the division. Let’s face it, no one would want guys like Jun Sabayton, Lourd de Veyra, Grace Lee and Shawn Yao to man the network’s news coverage.

Finally, AksyonTV’s decision to end most of its Radyo5 simulcasts in favor of blocktimers such as ‘EZ Shop’, ‘Shop TV’ and ‘Shop Japan’ is a clear sign that News5 is no longer intent on sustaining the embattled channel. That said, AksyonTV could be on the verge of becoming a predominantly sports channel in a similar vein as ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

So what urgent plans are needed for News5 to regain its old glory? Find out this Thursday on Part II of this article.

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Philippines, Sports, television

The NCAA Season 92 on ABS-CBN Sports: An Overview

Year 2 (12th overall) of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now underway.

The 92nd season of the NCAA kicked off last Saturday with the traditional opening ceremonies and the first seniors doubleheader, headlined by the Season 91 finals rematch of arch-rivals San Beda and Letran. The ceremonies were also highlighted by the retirement of San Beda basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga’s no. 14 jersey.

Unfortunately for the fans of the league, the following day’s seniors tripleheader was not aired on ABS-CBN Sports+Action. The reason: ABS-CBN and the NCAA agreed that they will only air games every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for the season, save for last Saturday’s opener.

Not much is changed in the presentation of ABS-CBN’s coverage from Season 91. However, there is a new scheduling format, which include:

  • Seniors tripleheaders every Tuesday and Friday unless specified
  • Seniors doubleheaders every Thursday, usually preceded by juniors doubleheaders
  • Four or five-game juniors slate every Monday

In essence, a week’s worth of NCAA seniors basketball coverage will amount to at most eight games per week. The utilization of tripleheaders and five-game slates on select dates is intended on shortening the duration of the season, however, postponement of games may take place in the event of natural calamities.

Most games will be held at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Select marquee matchups will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

This season’s NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports team will include the following:

Play-by-play announcers

  • Andrei Felix
  • Martin Javier
  • Boom Labrusca
  • Anton Roxas

Analysts

  • Martin Antonio
  • Migs Bustos
  • Olsen Racela
  • Mikee Reyes
  • Renren Ritualo

Courtside reporters

  • Sarah Carlos
  • Roxanne Montealegre
  • Myrtle Sarrosa
  • Ceej Tantengco

Every game day will feature a number of interactive segments, such as halftime school and player features, ‘Smile, You’re on Cam’ and viewer tweets. If last season’s success was any indication, then expect a lot more of these throughout this season.

Aside from seniors basketball (with a mid-season all-star game to boot), the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports will also cover the final four of women’s volleyball and beach volleyball. Highlights from other sports will also be featured on the ABS-CBN Sports+Action highlight show ‘The Score’, hosted by either TJ Manotoc or Anton Roxas.

All games will be seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, both in SD (channel 23) and HD (channel 166 and 701). It will also air via live streaming on the ABS-CBN Sports official website.

This season’s theme will be ‘Sports Builds Character: Achieving Breakthrough @Season 92’. San Beda College will be this season’s host.

After the unpredictable ending to Season 91, it will be interesting to see how Season 92 turns out. But if last season’s success was any indication, then wait and see what comes next this season.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

ABS-CBN to Air NBA Finals Game 7 Live

Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals will indeed air LIVE on ABS-CBN Channel 2, preempting ‘Magandang Buhay’ and the premiere of ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ season 3. (Promotional photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN is finally doing something right for once.

Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, according to ABS-CBN, will be aired LIVE. But since the game will be held on a Sunday in the United States (Monday in the Philippines), the game time will be at 8:00 a.m. Manila time, an hour earlier than usual.

Circumstances like this warrant a delayed telecast because of the presence of ‘Magandang Buhay’. But with Game 7 of the NBA Finals obviously the most important game of the season, ABS-CBN finally decided to give in to the viewers’ demands.

Thus, ‘Magandang Buhay’, along with the premiere of ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ season 3, will be preempted for today, and the NBA Finals will air LIVE on Channel 2. It will still be called in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras, among others, alongside TJ Manotoc on location in Oakland, California.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV will also simulcast Game 7 of the Finals with English commentary via ABC in the United States. There will also be a live viewing party at the NBA Cafe in SM Aura, Taguig.

The 2016 NBA Finals pits the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and the Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry. The Warriors seek to win back-to-back titles and validate their record-breaking 73-win season, while the Cavaliers look to end a 52-year title drought for Cleveland with their first championship.

The Warriors initially led the NBA Finals 3-1. But thanks to a pair of 40-point games by LeBron James, the Cavaliers were able to force a Game 7, and will now try to become the first team in NBA history to win the championship after trailing 3-1.

Replay of Game 7 will be later tonight at 10:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, with another replay to be aired on an undetermined time tomorrow morning. Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV will re-air Game 7 at 7:00 p.m.

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