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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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

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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Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on the MPBL on ABS-CBN S+A

A new Filipino basketball league is about to take off.

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao and his business manager Arnold Vegafria, will officially launch later tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The league’s maiden event will begin with an elaborate opening ceremony and a game between the ParaƱaque Patriots and Caloocan Supremos.

The league’s premise is simple: it consists of 10 teams located around Metro Manila and Luzon (with expansion to Visayas and Mindanao to follow soon) and it also aims to give grassroots athletes and aspiring basketball players a chance to showcase their skills and continue their basketball careers. These 10 teams are as follows:

  1. ParaƱaque Patriots
  2. Caloocan Supremos
  3. Batangas City Athletics
  4. Valenzuela Classic
  5. Navotas Clutch
  6. Muntinlupa Cagers
  7. Bataan Defenders
  8. Bulacan Kuyas
  9. Imus MPBL team
  10. Quezon City MPBL team

A home-and-away format will be followed so that teams can have a chance to play on their home court in front of their fans. In essence, the MPBL is a developmental league that is more similar to the NBA G League and is inspired from the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).

Let’s face it, the Philippines deserves another basketball league and something had to be done about the surplus of talent. Every basketball player dreams of making it to the PBA but what if there is little to no chance of earning a slot?

Also, what if basketball fans does not have the courage or the resources to watch a basketball game in faraway or big venues? This is exactly what the MPBL does: propagate the game of basketball closer to the fan while giving some undeserved talents a chance to prove their worth.

Not only that, the MPBL will get some much-needed exposure on national television via S+A, the sports channel of ABS-CBN. The said channel’s strong reach should benefit the MPBL a lot as it tries to gain the respect of Filipino basketball diehards.

It will be interesting to see how far this upstart league go. But for those who are worried that the MPBL could pose a threat to the PBA, don’t fret because they are only concerned about giving players opportunities while extending the careers of others.

Games of the MPBL will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. It will be aired on ABS-CBN’s S+A channel.

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