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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Philippines, Sports, television

It’s College Hoops Season Again

The countdown to the much-anticipated college basketball season in the Philippines begins. Twelve days from now the NCAA’s 89th season gets underway, while the UAAP‘s 76th season starts the week after. The college basketball season begins earlier than usual because of the country’s hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asia Tournament, which commences in the first week of August.

The NCAA will have a new broadcast partner for Season 89. AksyonTV takes over as the main coveror of the league’s games after the AKTV on IBC block expired last May.  The change of network will not affect the league’s recent approach of scheduling games in the late afternoon/early evening slots. However the game days have yet to be determined. As with the previous year, at least two game dates will be played outside Metro Manila.

ABS-CBN Sports, through VHF channel Studio 23, will broadcast the UAAP games for the 14th consecutive season. Unlike in previous years, the weekday games for men’s basketball will now be held on Wednesdays, as opposed to Thursdays. The Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday game schedule has been used in the network’s coverage of women’s volleyball, and was used experimentally in men’s basketball last season. However this will be the first time that the league will employ a Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday schedule full-time in men’s basketball. For the fifth straight season, at least one men’s basketball championship game will be aired on ABS-CBN on a weekend.

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde will host the NCAA’s 89th season, while Adamson University will host UAAP’s 76th season.

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