Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Sports to Televise All Games of the PVL Open Conference

“WE NEED IT!”

This is perhaps the plea of volleyball fans as the Premier Volleyball League enters its season-ending Open Conference. Having said that, ABS-CBN’s decision to finally televise every match of the Open Conference came as part of a harsh lesson learned during the Reinforced Conference.

Back in May, ABS-CBN Sports received plenty of criticism for the live streaming issues that took place during a PVL On Tour stop at Tuguegarao. Reluctantly, the network was forced to air weekend games on S+A for the remainder of the tournament before it televised every game of the finals.

Regarding the PVL Collegiate Conference, the exhibition nature of the tournament meant that only the first playdate and the finals were aired on S+A while the other games were aired on live stream. But ABS-CBN Sports, for its part, was able to address its concerns on live stream access by offering the PVL games on YouTube free of charge.

Which leads to the Open Conference. In part two of getting things right with volleyball fans, ABS-CBN Sports announced that all games of the tournament will be aired on LIGA while select matches will be televised on S+A.

The coverage format goes like this:

  1. All games live on LIGA, ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel and sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl
  2. Second game of Sunday doubleheader live on S+A.
  3. First game of Sunday doubleheader airs on a delayed basis after the live second game on S+A.
  4. Saturday doubleheaders air on a delayed basis every Monday at 2:00 p.m. on S+A.

The PVL Open Conference began Saturday with a doubleheader at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The opener meant that an MPBL game between the Bataan Risers and Cebu Sharks was not televised on S+A to give way to the live match between Banko Perlas Spikers and Iriga-Navy Oragons, a concession that was met with approval from volleyball fans.

The ongoing tournament will also feature Reinforced Conference champion Creamline Cool Smashers, Pocari Sweat Air Force, PetroGazz Angels, Tacloban Fighting Warays, Akari-Adamson Lady Falcons and Motolite-Ateneo Lady Eagles. Here is the entire tournament schedule.

About the only drawback here is that LIGA is only available on SkyCable and SkyDirect. But other than that, volleyball fans couldn’t get any happier.

Good luck to all the teams in the ongoing PVL Open Conference. And thanks to ABS-CBN Sports for giving the fans what they want.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Is UAAP Women’s Basketball Being Slighted by ABS-CBN Sports?

UAAP Season 81 is well underway.

But while the men’s basketball tournament always gets the attention of ABS-CBN Sports due to its popularity and appeal (that along with the eight courtside reporters for the season), the same cannot be said of the women’s side. There are three factors as to why UAAP women’s basketball tends to get an unfair treatment from ABS-CBN and sports fans in particular.

Lack of Popular Appeal

For the most part, women’s basketball has never been popular in the Philippines. Part of it was due to the absence of a legitimate women’s basketball league and a still-overlying perception that only men can play ball.

UAAP women’s basketball, in particular, only attracts around hundreds, if not less, fans in each game. Which leads to the second factor.

Disparity in Scheduling

Unlike men’s volleyball which is always scheduled before women’s volleyball matches, UAAP women’s basketball schedules always vary in terms of dates and venues. For example, here is the schedule for first round of Season 81.

Looking at the schedule closely, there are three playdates of at least three games that will be held at either the Blue Eagle Gym or the FilOil Flying V Centre. The rest are scheduled on the same day as the men’s basketball games at either the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The fact of the matter is, basketball remains a more popular sport than volleyball and the UAAP usually places the former sport for men in big venues because of its immense appeal. It would be tough for women’s basketball games to be scheduled on the same venue and on the same day as the men especially when popular rivalries such as Ateneo-La Salle come into play.

Loaded Schedule for ABS-CBN Sports

This September alone ABS-CBN Sports has an extremely busy schedule to attend to. In addition to UAAP men’s basketball, the network also covers the NCAA seniors’ basketball, the MPBL and the PVL among others.

ABS-CBN is also expected to air the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season next month. That said, with so many commitments left and right, the network has no room to cover UAAP women’s basketball on television and can only settle for live coverage of the finals come December (but at least it still airs the WNBA as part of its contract with the NBA).

It remains to be seen if ABS-CBN Sports will be willing to change its perception towards the UAAP women’s basketball tournament. For now, though, women’s basketball in the Philippines is a painful work in progress and it desperately needs the public’s help.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Before Ang Probinsyano: A Look Back at Nathaniel

It had been over three years since a teleserye not named ‘Ang Probinsyano’ aired after ‘TV Patrol’.

So many dramas have aired on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida during that span, including a combined seven teleseryes that starred the Big Three love teams in KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine. But at the end of the day, there was still one constant, and that was the Coco Martin-starred action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

After all, the series will turn three on the final week of September and will be closing in on 800 episodes by October. But lost amid the hoopla and the longevity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was its long-forgotten predecessor ‘Nathaniel’, the last series to air on ABS-CBN’s 7:50 p.m. slot before Coco Martin and his entourage took over.

‘Nathaniel’ starred Marco Masa in the title role, and his parents were played by Gerald Anderson and Shaina Magdayao. The supporting cast of ‘Nathaniel’ also included Isabelle Daza in her debut project with ABS-CBN.

The series ran from April 20 to September 25, 2015 and aired a total of 115 episodes. Not only that, ‘Nathaniel’ dominated the ratings game as it won past ‘Pari Ko’y’ and the 2015 remake of ‘MariMar’ in its timeslot.

So where are the series’ stars now? ‘Nathaniel”s lead protagonist Marco Masa has not had a major project since then but he did host ‘Team Yey’ for a short time and recently appeared on the second season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’.

Shaina Magdayao is currently part of the Kapamilya afternoon series ‘Asintado’. And as for Gerald Anderson, he was recently seen on ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ with former on-screen partner Kim Chiu and is now playing semi-pro basketball with the MPBL’s Marikina Shoemakers.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ reaching high episode levels not seen since the original ‘Mara Clara’ in the 1990s, it is easy to forget that it succeeded one of ABS-CBN’s most popular family-oriented dramas. That said, revisiting a gem like ‘Nathaniel’ will help viewers look back at a time when child stars used to rock Primetime Bida’s leadoff slot.

All episodes of ‘Nathaniel’ are currently available on iWant TV.

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Philippines, Sports, television

UAAP and PVL Finals Forces MPBL Game to Air on LIGA

Here is some good and bad news for basketball and volleyball fans.

Game 2 of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals will be aired live on ABS-CBN’s S+A at 6:30 p.m. tonight. At the moment, UP leads FEU by one game in this best-of-three encounter and can clinch the championship with a win.

Meanwhile, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will have a doubleheader scheduled in Bataan as well. However, only one game (Bataan vs. Valenzuela after the PVL Finals) will be aired live on S+A.

The reason: priorities over a particular sporting event. As the UAAP men’s basketball tournament is already underway, S+A considers this league as its first priority due to the UAAP’s immense popularity and appeal.

Today’s UAAP doubleheader will have UST vs. FEU followed by UP vs. Ateneo starting at 2:00 p.m. Which leads to the second priority in the PVL Finals.

ABS-CBN Sports and PVL organizer Sports Vision decided to schedule the finals on primetime so as not to conflict with UAAP basketball and to allow a wider audience to watch the game. Which then leads to the third priority in the MPBL.

Because of S+A’s aforementioned scheduling priorities not to mention that it is currently in the elimination stage, the MPBL had no choice but to air the first game in Bataan on sister channel LIGA. The game in question pits Pasig and San Juan.

This will mark the first time that the MPBL will be aired on LIGA. The good news, though, is that both games in Bataan will still be simulcast on the MPBL Facebook page.

Going back to the PVL, Game 2 of the Battle for Third between Adamson and UST will only air on LIGA and on the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube page as it will take place at around the same time as the UP-Ateneo UAAP basketball game. The match will be aired on a delayed basis this Friday on S+A after the NCAA basketball games.

Overall, S+A has a packed Wednesday lineup coming up. And it was good to see ABS-CBN resolving this scheduling dilemma in advance so as to benefit its legions of sports fans.

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Philippines, Sports, television

More Hoops: The NBL Philippines on BTV and Solar Sports

Another new Filipino basketball league has surfaced.

Last weekend the National Basketball League (NBL) played its first-ever games in Taguig City and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where they were played to sellout crowds. The league has 10 teams in all, each based on either a province, a city or a municipality.

But before making any comparisons to another regional-based basketball league in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League), the NBL runs its operations a little bit differently. While the MPBL welcomes former professional and collegiate stars to play in their league, the NBL wants no part of any of them.

Instead they focused on the homegrown and grassroots level, welcoming young players who grew up in their respective provinces, cities or municipalities. The purpose is to develop these players and create local basketball icons in the community.

As mentioned earlier, the NBL has 10 teams that currently play in their first season. They are:

  • Bulacan Makabayan
  • Camarines Sur Express
  • Dasmariñas Monarchs
  • Laguna Pistons
  • Marikina Shoemakers
  • Nueva Ecija Go Bespren
  • Parañaque Aces
  • Rizal Spartans
  • Quezon City Rising Stars
  • Taguig Generals

The NBL is the brainchild of chairman Soy Mercado and commissioner Nandy Garcia, who both envisioned a home-and-away league strictly for homegrown amateur players. The league’s games are currently aired on Solar Sports, Basketball TV and Net 25, and is also streamed live on the NBL-Philippines Facebook page.

Here is a look at the full elimination round schedule of the NBL.

In addition to a men’s homegrown amateur basketball league, the NBL organizers also plan on establishing a women’s counterpart that will begin in September. Considering that the Philippines does not have either an amateur or a professional women’s basketball league at the moment, the NBL will look to fill that void with its own women’s league.

Basketball fans can only hope that the NBL will bring some much-needed hope and inspiration to young ballers everywhere. Their role as a grassroots organization will be very crucial in establishing the next great hoops star.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Too Much for TV: Why MPBL’s Sudden Expansion Will Be Burdensome to the League

From the ‘Original 10’ to the ‘New 16’.

A total of 16 new teams will join 10 holdovers for the upcoming MPBL Datu Cup that will start this June. The ‘New 16’ will include seven teams from Metro Manila, four teams from Luzon, one team from Visayas, and four teams from Mindanao.

The new teams are:

  • Bacoor Strikers
  • Basilan Shooters
  • Cebu City Sharks
  • Davao Occidental Tigers
  • GenSan Warriors
  • Laguna Heroes
  • Makati Skyscrapers
  • Mandaluyong El Tigre
  • Manila Stars
  • Marikina Shoemasters
  • Pampanga Lanterns
  • Pasay Voyagers
  • Pasig Pirates
  • Rizal Ankle Breakers
  • San Juan Knights
  • Zamboanga Valientes

They will join the ‘Original 10’ teams that first competed in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup, all of which are based within Luzon. The tournament, which ran from January to April of this year, was won by the Tanduay Batangas City Athletics.

But with the sudden addition of 16 new teams comes a new dilemma for Arnold Vegafria’s ALV Productions. The producer of the MPBL games on ABS-CBN S+A will now have to deal with increased scheduling, travel and production expenses, although for now the non-Luzon teams will not have any home games due to logistical concerns.

In the upcoming Datu Cup, 25 games will be played among the 26 teams. Since the Philippines does not have regional sports networks similar to those in the U.S., the MPBL will be forced to add more game days and stretch the duration of the tournament so that it will run for almost the entire year (barring holidays and weather disturbances).

This means that S+A, the network partner of the league, may have to deal with near-daily doubleheaders all year round. But with so many new teams and games to air, S+A might not be able to fully commit with the MPBL given its coverage of other events such as the ONE Championship and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Such a long tournament may also take its toll on the fans. While the MPBL managed to sell out games regularly during the Anta Rajah Cup, the Datu Cup could see some semblance of unpredictability attendance-wise, and if the MPBL is not careful in dealing with the lengthy schedule, it could lose some of its audience.

This will be a huge test for S+A, ALV and the MPBL to see if expansion will reap some benefits. It will not be easy for either one of them to deal, so each must play a key role in managing this tournament well.

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