The 89th NCAA season got underway Saturday with a pair of close heart-stopping matchups at the Mall of Asia Arena. San Beda squeaked past St. Benilde in the opener while Letran dispatched rookie-laden San Sebastian in the nightcap. The 76th UAAP season unwraps in five days, so before you start saying ‘Ayan Na!’ (Here we go!), here is a guide for college hoops aficionados to get familiarized to both leagues.
For over a decade, ABS-CBN has been holding auditions over the summer break in an effort to pick new faces to report for their respective colleges. It doesn’t matter where they study, for as long as they were picked and assigned to a respective college, then their road to a bigger career begins come opening day. This year four new faces will join four holdovers for the upcoming UAAP season.
Since TV5 took over NCAA coverage in the 88th season, they eschewed the ABS-CBN way of picking new faces to represent their colleges. Instead they went the old route of using their stable of reporters, some of which already hired by the network, to report for both schools.
Rookies and Team Lineups
What better way to start the new season than to name the rookies from every college. Some were highly-touted prospects from high school, while others were spread from various continents of the world, including Africa. Still others were walk-ons, meaning that no invitation was given to them and instead tried out for the varsity team. If you want to see the lineups for every school, visit the UAAP and NCAA websites to check each of them.
For the nth time, tickets are hard to come by for the most highly-anticipated matchups of the season. Opening week, the Final Four and the Finals are a ticket buyer’s worst nightmare. In the UAAP, Ateneo-La Salle games are the hottest ticket in town. Scalpers also pose a problem, as are issues on online ticket purchasing. Whatever the reason, I wish the best of luck to those pursuing tickets for the highly-regarded marquee matchups.
And there is the long-standing issues of officiating. In recent years, commissioners of both leagues have promised a fair, clean and honest match, but sometimes the latter part was being disobeyed. Coaches have vented their ire on the referees for supposed non-calls or objectionable calls, even going as far as getting tossed out and fined for their actions. Player suspensions are usually a byproduct, especially during the most crucial matches of the season. Officiating can be inconsistent sometimes, but it is a part of the game and it is best to respect that.
As mentioned earlier, ABS-CBN is the rights holder to the UAAP while TV5 is the rights holder to the NCAA. All regular season and select Final Four and Finals matches will be on UHF networks Studio 23 and AksyonTV respectively. At least one game of the Finals will be on the VHF channels ABS-CBN 2 and TV5 respectively. Reruns of every game will be on cable networks Balls and Hyper respectively. So if you are either under the weather or are busy with other errands, just change the channel for some heart-stopping college hoops action.
In addition, uaapsports.studio23.tv will provide complementary live commercial-free coverage of every UAAP game.
Finally the college game is about loyalty. It is about shouting school cheers before and during games, and singing the school hymn after games. Halftime entertainment is provided by the cheering squad whose moves captivated the audience. In a college game, students, alumni and fans alike are of the same color of the school they represent, so their presence is of an urgent need to lift their school to victory.
If you read all these tips, then you are ready to watch another season of Pinoy college hoops.