Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on the NCAA’s Perpetual-Benilde Uniform Fiasco

The second playdate of NCAA Season 93 kicked off in a rather inauspicious manner.

The first game of last Tuesday’s tripleheader pitted the Perpetual Help Altas against the St. Benilde Blazers. However, the game did not get underway until around 12:45 p.m. due to a uniform issue involving the former.

The Altas showed up in their maroon jerseys, when in fact they were assigned to wear their white uniforms. As a result, the NCAA Management Committee (MANCOM) gave the team a technical foul, which the Blazers took advantage at the free throw line.

Although Perpetual won the actual match by a 69-65 score, CSB placed the game under protest. In the end, the NCAA sided with the latter and awarded them the win by forfeit.

While the NCAA stipulates that one team should wear a light uniform (usually white or yellow) to contrast with a team wearing a dark uniform, there is one school that has somewhat defied this rule more often than not. The Letran Knights has had a long-standing uniform tradition in which the school doesn’t wear white uniforms but rather only red or navy blue.

In fact, during that same playdate, Letran wore their navy blues (normally their dark uniform) when they faced the Mapua Cardinals (in red jerseys) in the ‘Battle of Intramuros’. To cut the long story short, here is how Letran’s navy and red uniforms are used in games:

Letran’s red jerseys: Assigned as a ‘light’ jersey in games against the JRU Heavy Bombers (navy blue jerseys), Arellano Chiefs (blue jerseys) and St. Benilde Blazers (green jerseys)

Letran’s navy blue jerseys: Assigned as a ‘dark’ jersey in all games; assigned as a ‘light’ jersey in games against the EAC Generals, LPU Pirates, Mapua Cardinals, Perpetual Help Altas, San Beda Red Lions, and San Sebastian Stags (red or maroon jerseys).

It is unclear if Letran’s uniform ‘tradition’ is grandfathered before the NCAA strictly enforced the ‘light vs. dark’ uniform rule. But either way, this loophole is something that the NCAA should have looked at, regardless of how long Letran is doing it.

To be honest, this rule should have been repealed. Most leagues around the world are now allowing both teams to show up in dark colored uniforms (as long as it easily contrasts against each other), and with the growth of high definition television, viewers should easily tell them apart.

The NCAA has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to uniforms. One can only hope that they can enforce this ruling as strictly as possible so that this fiasco will not be repeated, otherwise they can just repeal the rule and let the teams play the game.

Notes: The ‘NCAA on Tour’ kicks off today with the Arellano Chiefs hosting the San Sebastian Stags at the Arellano University campus. The league will hold their campus tours in most Thursday playdates, along with a live pregame concert and special presentations produced by ABS-CBN Sports.

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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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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

TV5 Airs One Game of NCAA Final Four. And It Sucks.

The NCAA Final Four begins tomorrow, but only one game will air on TV5. (Photo credit: Inquirer.net)

The NCAA Season 90 men’s basketball Final Four begins tomorrow, but TV5 will continue to air just one game. ONE!

The second Final Four game between the second-seeded Arellano Chiefs and the third-seeded JRU Heavy Bombers will be the only game airing on the main TV5 network. Meanwhile, the first game between the top-seeded San Beda Red Lions and the fourth-seeded Perpetual Help Altas will be relegated to AksyonTV.

Both games will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena starting at 2:00 p.m.

Having reached the critical point of the season, it is expected that TV5 will air both games of the NCAA Final Four, considering its importance. But as it turned out, old habits do die hard for the Kapatid network.

Consider this: from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., TV5 airs Tagalized foreign films under the ‘Movie Max 5’ banner. That means for over 2 1/2 hours, the Kapatid network is airing nothing but movies that have been aired over and over again by HBO, Star Movies, and other free TV networks.

So much for being bored.

The only times that the 1:30-4:00 p.m. window became relevant was when important sports events took place. Such was the case during the recently-concluded Youth Olympic Games, FIBA World Cup and Asian Games.

That said, it would have helped TV5 if both games were to air. Instead, they balked at this opportunity, and as a result, a movie will air on the aforementioned timeslot rather than a Final Four game.

The increasing tension between TV5 and the NCAA can no longer be ignored. Three years of timeslot and channel changes, questionable scheduling and personnel decisions, unnecessary gimmicks, lack of promotion by the former, and controversial events such as the Mapua-EAC brawl, are beginning to take its toll on the relationship between the two parties.

And this latest programming decision by TV5 only compounds an already deteriorating situation.

Tomorrow, four NCAA teams will face off to determine a pair of Finals berths. But with TV5 airing just one game, don’t expect anything from their Final Four broadcasts.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA on TV5 Digs an Even Deeper Hole

The NCAA on TV5 received its latest black eye.

Monday saw two eventful matches with contrasting results. In the first game, the Perpetual Altas stunned the San Beda Red Lions 76-75, after which the Red Lions filed a protest claiming that Joel Jolangcob’s three-pointer at the end of the third quarter should have been nullified on the grounds that the Altas committed a prior 24-second shotclock violation.

But it was the second game between the Mapua Cardinals and the EAC Generals that stole the show, for all the wrong reasons.

With 28.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and EAC leading 86-77, Generals playmaker John Tayongtong punched Mapua guard CJ Isit. Teammate Leo Gabo came into Isit’s defense and shoved Tayongtong, after which the bench-clearing brawl began that eventually stopped the game.

The Mapua-EAC game was shown on both TV5 and AksyonTV. But just as the arena announcer began to make an announcement regarding the player penalties and the official conclusion of the game, TV5 elected to cut the game short in favor of ‘Aksyon Prime’, and in one final measure, the station’s announcers urged viewers to switch to AksyonTV.

This is not the first time that TV5 cut its NCAA coverage short in favor of the news. Over two months ago, the closing minutes of a first-round game between Lyceum and Mapua was abruptly cut in favor of an impromptu speech by President Noynoy Aquino, which essentially kicked off ‘Aksyon Prime’.

Their latest act, while more excusable than the first, is just another way of treating the NCAA like a second-class citizen. Yes, they may be focusing their energies more on the Gilas basketball team of late, but they should have been treating the NCAA equally like their other broadcast properties.

Honestly, TV5 should have finished the airing of the game. The official announcement was seconds away, and yet they decided to do what is infamously known as a ‘Heidi moment’ in television lore, which is unacceptable to viewers.

With still a few more games to go, TV5 needs to learn from these mistakes as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the NCAA will have to find a new partner for next season.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Lack of Full TV Coverage is Hurting the NCAA

NCAA coverage on television continue to be spotty at best. (Photo credit: GMA News Online)

President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address will take place later this afternoon. Unfortunately, it is also a game day in the 90th NCAA season basketball tournament.

The NCAA doubleheader for this Monday afternoon will feature the San Beda-St. Benilde and Mapua-San Sebastian matches for both the juniors and seniors division. The seniors games are usually seen live on television, but due to today’s SONA, tape-delay broadcasts on the TV5 family of networks will be a likely scenario.

Television coverage has always been inconsistent for the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league. During the 1990s, when government TV stations PTV-4 and IBC-13 covered the games, only the opening day and championship matches were aired in full, with highlights of the other games relegated to their newscasts.

It only got worse in 2000, when the championship matches pitting St. Benilde and Jose Rizal College were not aired. Then in 2001, despite the guarantee of PTV-4 and Media Conglomerates, Inc. to air most of the matches, the NCAA tournament was reduced to a mere 30-minute highlight show called ‘Inside NCAA’, with opening day and championship matches being aired live.

In 2002, the NCAA decided to join forces with ABS-CBN Sports, with the league’s games now being featured on a regular basis. But with the UAAP already a fixture on Studio 23 (now ABS-CBN Sports+Action), the NCAA was relegated to a weekday-exclusive schedule, with non-televised games on Mondays. Still, it was a marginal improvement from the PTV-MCI era.

Ten years later, the NCAA signed a deal with Sports5 to cover their games. Initially airing over IBC-13 (via AKTV), the league was forced to return to UHF television via AksyonTV once the AKTV deal expired. In addition, TV5 aired the championship matches, before receiving a select slate of elimination games this year. This time, however, all games were aired on the said network.

Still, circumstances related to national events continued to affect the television coverage of the NCAA. Examples include the funeral of the late Corazon Aquino in 2009, the recent State of the Nation Addresses, and the Janet Lim-Napoles Pork Barrel hearings in 2013, which either led to pre-emptions or delayed broadcasts of the games. And more recently, the impromptu DAP address of President Aquino led to an abrupt end of Sports5’s live NCAA coverage.

In the end, it is clear that the NCAA is at a disadvantage. While television coverage is gradually improving, it is still far from a finished product. What the league needs now at this point is flexibility, from the scheduling to the availability of the venue, in order to take advantage of live television, and to satisfy the demands of loyal fans.

NCAA management should start learning from these experiences. Otherwise, the league will continue to feel its fair share of shortcomings on television coverage.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

PNoy’s Speech and Impact on TV Programming

President Noynoy Aquino’s address on the Disbursement Acceleration Program forced several television stations to halt their scheduled programs. (Photo credit: Bullit Marquez, Associated Press)

President Noynoy Aquino’s impromptu speech in relation to the Disbursement Acceleration Program made a huge impact on television programming.

The near-30 minute speech saw the President defend the controversial bill, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Highlights of his speech include his criticism on predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Supreme Court’s declaration, and his enumeration of the DAP’s supposed benefits.

Unfortunately, his lengthy address proved too much for several television stations to handle. Episodes of ABS-CBN’s ‘Pure Love’ and GMA’s ‘My BFF’ were halted just 10 minutes into their running time, and were not resumed. The unfinished episodes of both programs are scheduled to re-air in full later tonight.

Meanwhile, the live NCAA seniors basketball game between Lyceum and Mapua on TV5 and AksyonTV was cut with over 3 minutes left, and was only resumed on the latter following the ‘Aksyon’ newscast.

And over at GMA News TV and ABS-CBN Sports+Action, episodes of ‘MARS’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ were temporarily put on hold during the televised address, resuming after the end of the broadcast.

While GMA News TV and ABS-CBN Sports+Action’s decision to air the address and delay ongoing programming is excusable, the same cannot be said for their mother networks. Instead of pre-empting their teleseryes in favor of news coverage of the address, GMA and ABS-CBN continued to air them without realizing the consequences. As a result, their decision left viewers puzzled and unsatisfied, since neither program resumed following the address.

For NCAA fans, the feeling is all too familiar. TV5’s decision to cut away from the ongoing NCAA telecast was just another blunder committed by the network since acquiring the rights to the league. The lack of a commercial-free and uninterrupted online livestream service for the game was also a cause of concern.

Events like this should serve as a lesson to programming directors. In an impromptu national event like President Aquino’s address, programming directors should take note of the length of the event and the possible consequences to ongoing programs, so that they can be prepared for any eventuality. If done the right way, viewers will benefit well from the change.

With that in mind, the upcoming State of the Nation Address is just two weeks away. And for major networks, this event should help them restructure their programming  in order to inform viewers of any pre-emptions.

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