Philippines, Sports, television

Overview: NCAA Season 91 on ABS-CBN Sports

The NCAA Season 91 begins this Saturday, with San Beda trying to win an unprecedented sixth seniors’ title in a row. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

NCAA Season 91 is five days away.

The latest season of the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league will emanate from the Mall of Asia Arena, where the opening ceremonies and a seniors basketball doubleheader will kick things off. The doubleheader will pit defending champion San Beda versus season host Mapua, and Season 90 runner-up Arellano against perennial contender JRU.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts, as ABS-CBN Sports will once again handle the television broadcasts for the NCAA games. The said network recently inked a ten-year contract that would lead up to the league’s centennial season.

A new format for weekly games is also in order. Like last season, seven seniors games will be held per week, but the new scheme will now feature doubleheaders on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a tripleheader on Fridays.

Other than the opening doubleheaders, which are scheduled at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, all games in the first round will be held at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. The second round schedule, to be released once the first round is finished, will feature most games in San Juan and may feature some marquee games at the MOA.

All of the aforementioned games will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, and will be simulcast in high definition on Balls HD. Online livestreaming of the games will also be available on sports.abs-cbn.com, while same-day replays will be aired in the evening on Balls.

ABS-CBN Sports will utilize the following on-air talents for the NCAA games (tentative as of June 23, 2015):

Play-by-play

  • Anton Roxas
  • Andrei Felix

Analysts

  • Martin Antonio
  • Migs Bustos
  • Mikee Reyes
  • Allan Gregorio
  • Olsen Racela

Courtside reporter

  • Myrtle Sarrosa

By all accounts, it seems that ABS-CBN Sports will be using TV5’s approach in handling games, at least for this season. But don’t expect Moneyball or some other gimmick to show up during ABS-CBN’s coverage.

The selection of Sarrosa as the sole courtside reporter was also an interesting decision by network management, since ABS-CBN Sports popularized the use of students as courtside reporters for their schools. But with the network short of time to prepare for the NCAA games, they decided to tap the ‘Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4’ winner instead.

In addition to seniors basketball, ABS-CBN Sports will also air highlights to the other NCAA disciplines. Finals of juniors basketball and the final four of women’s volleyball will likewise be aired.

The return of the NCAA to ABS-CBN Sports should help reestablish order and prominence within the league. It remains to be seen if the latter can improve the shortcomings that Sports5 endured, but from their previous experience covering the NCAA, they should do just fine.

NCAA Season 91 unwraps this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD and sports.abs-cbn.com.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Returns to ABS-CBN

After an unsuccessful three-year stint with TV5, the NCAA returns to ABS-CBN Sports starting with Season 91. (Photo credit: ABS-CBNNews.com)

The NCAA returns to an old friend.

It was announced that the NCAA will once again join forces with ABS-CBN Sports for the next ten years, beginning with Season 91 that is slated to open on June 27. This ends a rather unfruitful three-year partnership between the league and previous coveror TV5.

Under the terms of a new contract, ABS-CBN Sports+Action will air the NCAA seniors basketball games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with a total of seven games a week. Most games will be at the FilOil Flying V Arena, while select marquee matchups will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In addition, Sports+Action will air the playoffs of women’s volleyball, as well as short highlights of the league’s other sports. Overall, the ten-year deal between the NCAA and ABS-CBN is aimed at promoting, developing, building and stabilizing the NCAA in a sporting and marketing standpoint.

ABS-CBN Sports and the NCAA first joined forces in Season 78 (2002-03), with host San Beda College responsible for the deal. The initial partnership resulted in wider and more extensive game coverage for the league, whereas in prior years it only received fringe coverage in other networks.

The NCAA’s first foray with ABS-CBN Sports lasted for ten seasons. Then in Season 88, the league joined forces with Sports5, hoping to bring in additional televised games and attract more viewers in the process.

However, the league and Sports5 encountered numerous problems, such as constant scheduling changes, lack of marketing and promotion, and network assignments. TV5 also lacked the resources to improve its power, reach and accessibility, as well as adapting to new technologies such as online live-streaming.

That said, the marriage between TV5 and the NCAA was destined to fail. And it did.

Now that the NCAA has returned to ABS-CBN Sports, fans can only hope that the latter will deliver the little things that TV5 failed to do. The long-term contract between the two parties should help the NCAA grow not only as a league, but as a brand, something ABS-CBN Sports was able to do with the UAAP.

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports begins this June 27. Good luck.

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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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live events, Philippines, Sports, television

New Schedules for NCAA Season 90 Men’s Basketball on Sports5

The 90th NCAA season kicks off this June 28 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

This Saturday, the NCAA returns for its 90th season with the theme of ‘Today’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Legends – NCAA @ 90: We Make History’. And in an attempt to shorten their basketball season, a new schedule was implemented.

Back in Season 89, the NCAA endured a longer-than-expected basketball season. The season began on June 22, after which the league took a break in early August due to the FIBA Asia Championships. Then came Typhoons Maring and Odette, which led to some postponed games.

As a result, the Final Four only got underway in November. The unexpected length of the NCAA season proved to be a hindrance for the organizers of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, whose preliminary round games are usually scheduled in early November.

In response, reporters coined the hashtag #DiPaTaposAngNCAA, which was prophetic given the extended length of the season. It was not until November 16 that the season finally came to an end, as the San Beda Red Lions achieved their fifth straight championship at the expense of the Letran Knights.

Following the conclusion of the season, I wrote an article that would suggest a shorter NCAA season. In that article I discussed about a four-day or five-day a week schedule, the need for other venues besides the FilOil Flying V Arena, and the commitment that TV5 needs in order to make it all happen. As it turned out, I was right about the first suggestion, but then again the league will continue to depend on the San Juan venue for most of its games.

The new schedule will be as follows:

Doubleheaders every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting at 2 p.m. The doubleheaders from June 30 to July 4 will start at 12 p.m. due to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals coverage.

Lone games every Saturday, with the exception of the June 28 openers, starting at 12:30 p.m.

AksyonTV will air all games, while TV5 will air the second weekday games and all Saturday games. Replays will air on HYPER.

This will be the first time since Season 87 that the NCAA will have all of its seniors games in the afternoon. In the past, Sports5 aired NCAA games on primetime, but with TV5 joining in the act, its loaded primetime lineup makes it impossible to employ the same scheme. Thus, the NCAA returns to an old method previously used with ABS-CBN Sports.

This season’s basketball games will be hosted by Jose Rizal University, and will also mark the final probationary season for Emilio Aguinaldo College and Lyceum of the Philippines University. The two schools’ membership will depend on their performance in all sports, and if they pass with flying colors, they will be accepted as regular members in Season 91 and beyond.

Defending champion San Beda is gunning for a sixth straight championship, but nine other schools are threatening to end the streak. This season promises to be very exciting and compelling, as the NCAA makes history.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Needs a Shorter Season

With 10 schools, the NCAA basketball season now runs from June to early November. The need for more game days and venues are a must to shorten the season.

The UAAP basketball season ended two weeks ago, but in the NCAA, the elimination round is still in progress. Already affected by the numerous weather and event postponements, the NCAA men’s basketball finals is now expected to be played in the month of November, which does have an adverse effect on the scheduling of the Philippine Collegiate Basketball League preliminaries. So what does the NCAA have to do in order to prevent this from happening again? Here are the three things I want to see.

1. More games during the week

Currently the NCAA basketball games are played every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. However, since the league now has 10 schools, a double-round elimination tends to be much longer. In order to make the elimination tournament shorter, the league must now play either four or five times a week; Tuesday and/or Friday games are an option. However, a majority of their games are being played at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan, and should the four or five-a-week approach be approved, the NCAA will find it hard to schedule most games there. Which leads to the next suggestion.

2. Venue Flexibility is a Must

Before the FilOil Flying V Arena opened, the NCAA used to play its games at either the Ninoy Aquino Stadium or the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila. Now they need these two venues more in order to play more games. Other options include the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, PhilSports Arena and Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, and the seldom-used Makati Coliseum in Makati. For big games involving the top teams, the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum is a worthy option.

3. TV5 Must Agree to the Proposal

More games mean busy schedules for the Sports5 production crew. TV5 has to agree to the additional workload of games in order to make it happen. In addition, the NCAA needs to go back to the 2 p.m. start time for seniors doubleheaders, in order to accommodate the PBA games on most days. AksyonTV and the main TV5 network should also share live coverage of the NCAA, with a select number of games also airing live on the cable network HYPER.

With the greater amount of schools to commit, the NCAA needs the above proposals in order to finish their season quickly than at the current pace they’re in. And this new approach should enable the organizers of the PCCL to plan ahead for the qualifying rounds at various cities in the Philippines.

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