Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Will March Madness Be Aired on BTV?

So far, Basketball TV has not aired any U.S. NCAA college basketball game this year. As a result, the upcoming broadcast of March Madness on that station remains uncertain.

It’s already the fourth month of the college basketball season in the United States, and yet Basketball TV in the Philippines has not aired any game of the U.S. NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball conference tournaments. Now the question is: Will March Madness be aired on BTV?

In previous years, BTV aired select games of the U.S. NCAA conference tournaments, mostly coming from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). BTV also aired select games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament, including all of the Elite Eight, Final Four and the Championship rounds, as part of ‘March Madness on BTV’. Its commitment to the NCAA attracted some NBA fans who looked forward to watch some of the most hyped NBA prospects in action.

However, contrary to the inclusion of the Louisville Cardinals’ championship victory on its station ID, BTV has not been able to broadcast any U.S. NCAA game this year. A lot of basketball fans were looking forward to watch future stars such as Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker play, and BTV is surely expected to give college basketball fans what they want to see. Unfortunately, that was not the case this year.

If Basketball TV decides not to pursue anymore its broadcast of March Madness, let alone the entire NCAA college basketball season, it will be a huge loss to the network. They already lost the rights to the Spanish Liga ACB this year, leaving them with only the NBA, Euroleague, NBA D-League, FIBA Basketball and local tournaments such as the SBP-Passerelle as their primary outlets. Losing the US NCAA will definitely be demoralizing, and more importantly, college basketball fans will not be happy about it.

It remains to be seen if March Madness will be picked up on another network. For now, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and other future NBA stars will not have any airtime on any station in the Philippines this year.

UPDATE: Sports5 executive and Gilas head coach Chot Reyes tweeted today that March Madness or the US NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will be seen on TV5 this March. The coverage will likely involve sister stations AksyonTV and HYPER. More information on this event coming soon. As for Basketball TV, they should start editing their station ID now that March Madness is out of the network.

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Philippines, Sports, television

The End of the Ateneo Dynasty

Last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was bittersweet for Ateneans, as the Blue Eagles‘ dynasty was put to an end by the UST Growling Tigers 82-74. The loss ended the five-year reign of Ateneo in the UAAP Men’s Senior Basketball tournament, while at the same time ending their 14-year streak of Final Four berths.

It was a forgettable end to an otherwise eventful season that saw Ateneo buck an 0-3 start, endure injuries, and come within a win of the Final Four. However, a string of off-court commotions, a lack of a dependable post presence, and an early-season injury to star guard Kiefer Ravena doomed the Eagles, and for the first time in six years, the campus in Katipunan will not hold a celebratory bonfire.

The game itself received considerable hype prior to tipoff, especially after the De La Salle Green Archers defeated UST last Saturday to force a winner-to-the-Final-Four matchup between Ateneans and Thomasians. The Big Dome was virtually sold out, with half of the arena occupied in yellow and the other half blue. Even before the game began the students raged a verbal war on social media, with Lasallians even joining in the action. This social media warfare continued during and after the game, with hashtags and words related to the game trending on Twitter. Outside, both the UST and Ateneo campuses were able to show the live coverage of the game for students with ongoing classes. In addition, every news outlet gave their eyewitness account on the game.

With UST’s entry, the Final Four cast was finally complete. UST will face the NU Bulldogs, while La Salle will take on the FEU Tamaraws. The La Salle-FEU bracket will be a virtual best-of-three, with the twice-to-beat incentive on the line for Saturday’s game. Meanwhile NU will hold the twice-to-beat advantage against UST, in a rematch of last year’s Final Four matchup. The NU-UST bracket will begin on Sunday. All of the Final Four games will be seen on Studio 23 and Balls HD 167.

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