PBA on TV5’s Biggest Eyesore

This virtual Oppo logo has become a distraction to the PBA games on TV5. (Logo courtesy of Oppo)

This virtual Oppo logo has become a distraction to the PBA games on TV5. (Logo courtesy of Oppo)

The Philippine Basketball Association today is full of problems.

Whether it’s the poor attendance in games that do not involve Ginebra, or the questionable officiating that coaches regularly complain, the PBA is a league that is in hot water every so often. Heck, even television coverage of the games has been a problem in recent years.

These days, the PBA games on television are aired on TV5 and PBA Rush, employing a separate set of commentators for their respective Taglish and English broadcasts. While the games on PBA Rush are relatively free from any product placement, the same cannot be said for TV5’s broadcasts.

Much of the issue has something to do with the gigantic virtual Oppo logo popping out on the court during games. Oppo is currently the main sponsor of the PBA, but while the promotion of their products is worth noting, the visually irritating virtual logo on the court leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

TV5’s penchant for placing virtual logos is not limited to Oppo alone. In past years, the network has placed the Sports5 logo, followed by the team logos on each end of the court.

It should be worth noting that ABS-CBN Sports also tried to place virtual logos on the court during select NCAA basketball games last season. However they stopped placing these logos upon realizing that they are an eyesore to the league’s coverage.

Let’s face it, there is nothing wrong about promoting a particular product. However, the PBA is all about game action, and placing these virtual logos while players run up and down the court is extremely distracting.

The best that TV5 would have done is to follow the example of the ASEAN Basketball League. Every ABL team’s home court features an AirAsia (ABL’s main sponsor) sticker being placed on the court, and this feature gives the league a chance to showcase the game without any distraction from the television screen.

Even the NBA also follow the ABL’s example, as some teams place stickers of advertisements on the court. That said, the PBA should take a good look at it and convince TV5 to do the same thing without straying away from the game.

The PBA should be about the game and how the fans buy into it. Anything distracting could spell disaster for the league.

Fixing Radyo5 (and AksyonTV) Under Miguel Belmonte

New man in charge: Miguel Belmonte will now run Radyo5 and AksyonTV, hoping to restore the credibility of both stations (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

New man in charge: Miguel Belmonte will now run Radyo5 and AksyonTV, hoping to restore the credibility of both stations. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

TV5’s renovation goes beyond Channel 5.

A few weeks ago, From the Tube discussed the plans that Chot Reyes envisioned for TV5, which included the return of AniMEGA and the entry of director Brillante Mendoza to the fold. Now let’s focus on the renovation project of TV5’s sister stations AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM, both of which are now under the leadership of The Philippine Star CEO Miguel Belmonte.

Last year was a poor one for both stations, not only in coverage but also in programming. The plight of Radyo5 and AksyonTV was well-documented, from the departures of Martin Andanar and Cherie Mercado, to their inability to cover significant news-worthy events that other stations were deeply committed to.

Replacing erstwhile head Gladys Lana-Lucas with Miguel Belmonte serves as a first step to restore the news-gathering capabilities of both Radyo5 and AksyonTV. That said, here’s a look at both stations’ needs that Belmonte must address.

New Shows and New Hosts

Radyo5 really needs new hosts and new shows, period. The departures of Andanar, Mercado, Anthony Pangilinan and Benjie Felipe were deeply felt within the station, and Gladys Lana-Lucas’ inability to process replacements led to her dismissal.

This is one area that Belmonte must look at immediately, because from the looks of it, Radyo5 will never be equal to more established AM stations like DZMM, DZBB and DZRH. Heck, he can even sign a blocktime deal with another media outfit, similar to DZRJ 810 AM’s agreement with 8TriMedia.

Greater Commitment to Live Events

Radyo5 was essentially absent during important live events such as the hearings on extra-judicial killings and President Rodrigo Duterte’s public addresses. To do so, Belmonte must convince the hosts of Radyo5 to give way to events such as this in order to give its listeners an idea on what is going on (take note, Raffy Tulfo and Niña Taduran).

Although the PBA’s priority on the network could put an end to ongoing news coverage once it goes overtime, the least that Radyo5 can do is to prove that they are a worthy news-covering machine on FM radio. There may be some constraints, but covering the news on the spot is better than nothing at all.

Embrace TeleRadyo Format on AksyonTV

AksyonTV wastes a lot of time by airing TV shopping blocks and reruns of now-defunct shows during vacant time periods. So why not allot the time for a TeleRadyo-esque format instead, except during live sporting events.

Since 2011, AksyonTV has been simulcasting select Radyo5 programs. The time is perhaps now to fully integrate the TeleRadyo in AksyonTV, given that the network no longer intends to produce original programs like they did in the past.

Improve AksyonTV’s Power and Revenue

This is indeed the most important need of the station. AksyonTV has long been criticized for its poor signal and power, which was the primary reason why the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports and the PBA forced TV5 to air all of their games on VHF Channel 5 only.

Now under Belmonte, the time is now for AksyonTV to improve its facilities, power and reach to serve more viewers. But to do so, the station needs the backing of advertisers in order to provide much-needed revenue.

Miguel Belmonte’s role in restoring Radyo5 and AksyonTV will not be easy, given the extensive damage that both stations endured last year. That said, patience is a virtue, and if all the right buttons are pushed, then Radyo5 92.3 News FM and AksyonTV could return to prominence as soon as possible.

Uncertain Future for the PCCL After Cancellation of 2016-17 Tournament

The future of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League is in doubt after organizers cancelled the 2016-17 tournament. (Logo courtesy of the PCCL)

The future of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League is in doubt after organizers cancelled the 2016-17 tournament. (Logo courtesy of the PCCL)

There will be no national collegiate champion in the 2016-17 academic season.

It was announced earlier this week that the 2016-17 edition of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League will be canceled. According to PCCL commissioner Joe Lipa, various factors made it impossible to stage the tournament, namely schedules of participating leagues and TV coverage.

Last season’s PCCL was criticized for crowning two champions after the tournament was cut short due to typhoon Nona. FEU and San Beda were declared co-champions, while Letran and the University of San Carlos shared third place honors.

But even before last season’s debacle, the PCCL has had a reputation for being a poorly-organized tournament. Supposedly patterned after the U.S. NCAA March Madness tournament, the PCCL instead turned out to be more of an exhibition series, with several schools already slotting their Team B players in lieu of those who already moved to the professional ranks.

The PCCL also appeared to favor the Metro Manila teams more than those in the provinces. Since it began in 2003, the PCCL championship either went to a UAAP or NCAA school, and to make matters worse, the league has often awarded free passes to either league’s champions or Final Four qualifiers in the later rounds.

The poor quality of the PCCL also extends to television coverage. Although the addition of ABS-CBN Sports in 2009 somewhat helped the PCCL in the exposure department, it was eventually overshadowed by the growing popularity of the concurrent UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, which trumped the PCCL by a mile.

And last season, the UAAP’s decision to move the start of their season to September wrecked the PCCL’s plans to smoothly hold their tournament. With the UAAP men’s basketball championship taking place around late November and early December, it would be impossible for the PCCL to crown a national championship during those months.

Overall, the PCCL is not quite as prestigious as they should have. To this day, crowning a true national champion in the PCCL remains secondary to winning a championship in a more established mother league like the UAAP or the NCAA.

So what’s next for the PCCL? While the league hopes to hold another tournament next year, it remains to be seen if they will indeed put those hard-earned lessons to the test, and with regards to TV coverage, it may not be easy to attract potential suitors this time, given that their most viable backer in ABS-CBN Sports decided to cut ties.

That said, if this is indeed the end for the PCCL, this is definitely the time. They may have had promise, but at the end of the day, a true national champion will only be a memory.

FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part III)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part III of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

Pinoy Boyband Superstar Answers To the Top

Last year, GMA created its own reality talent show for up-and-coming Filipino boybands, ‘To the Top’. This year, ABS-CBN struck back by bringing the ‘La Banda’ franchise to the Philippines under the name ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’.

Unfortunately for GMA, the popularity of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ far exceeded ‘To the Top’. The former constantly gained ratings of 30% or better while airing at a more convenient timeslot of 6:50 p.m., whereas the latter only mustered around 7-8% ratings while airing at a not-so attractive timeslot of 9:45-10:00 p.m.

Despite the success of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’, it remains to be seen if BoybandPH can become a more popular boyband than Top One Project ever was. That said, the key to both boybands at this point is to outsell each other in order to win the hearts of fans.

Delamar Leaves RX 93.1’s The Morning Rush

‘The Morning Rush’ on Monster RX 93.1 is an institution in Philippine FM radio, having aired continuously for over two decades. So when Delamar Arias decided to leave both the show and the station on July 29, listeners, or ‘rushers’, were stunned.

After all, Delamar, along with long-time partner Chico Garcia and recent addition Gino Quillamor, were instrumental in the show’s success, with the ‘Top 10’ segment becoming the most popular segment. Her departure left a glaring hole on ‘The Morning Rush’, one they have struggled to fill since.

Delamar was not the only high-profile departure from the station. A few weeks later, Bea Fabregas left RX to focus on hosting FOX Sports Philippines’ ‘Fox Sports Minute’ and ‘The GOAT’, while Karen Bordador was arrested for alleged drug possession and was de facto removed from the station.

The Launch of PBA Rush, Plus UFC on TV5 and Olympic Coverage

If Solar Entertainment has NBA Premium TV, then TV5 has its own channel for the PBA in PBA Rush. Launched prior to the 2016 Governors’ Cup, PBA Rush is considered the Filipino version of NBA TV, featuring live and archived PBA games plus special programs dedicated to the league.

The timing of PBA Rush’s launch couldn’t have come at an important time, as that year’s Governors’ Cup saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel end an eight-year title drought at the expense of the Meralco Bolts. Ginebra’s win would have concluded PBA’s run with TV5, but instead the partnership between the two was renewed in time for the ongoing Philippine Cup.

TV5 also made a high-profile acquisition when it purchased the broadcast rights to the UFC, promising it to air live on its HYPER channel. Unfortunately, TV5’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was a difficult one, as the network struggles to deal with its decline in programming quality.

Other Sports Stories on TV

ABS-CBN Sports replaced the UFC by focusing on local and regional mixed martial arts, namely the Alvin Aguilar-led URCC, and the Southeast Asia-based One Championship. They also brought in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) as part of its continued commitment to local and regional sports.

Solar Sports dabbled into collegiate basketball by airing the NAASCU, while IBC-13 and AksyonTV aired the UCBL and CESAFI tournaments respectively. However, the biggest draws remain the NCAA and the UAAP, where the San Beda Red Lions and the De La Salle Green Archers won their respective championships.

Finally, in women’s volleyball, ABS-CBN Sports acquired the rights to the Shakey’s V-League, beginning a contentious rivalry between the V-League and the TV5-aired Philippine SuperLiga.

Be My Lady Reigns, Ryzza Mae’s Run Ends

‘Be My Lady’, topbilled by real-life couple Erich Gonzales and Daniel Matsunaga,was the top draw at the pre-noontime slot for much of this year. Airing for 221 episodes from January 18 to November 25, the series earned ratings of nearly 20%, besting the competition in the process.

The aforementioned competition included a pair of shows starring Ryzza Mae Dizon: ‘Princess in the Palace’, and ‘Calle Siete’. But with Ryzza already entering the pre-teen stage of her life, it was clear that she was no longer the charmingly cute presence of years past.

In the end, TAPE decided to cease starring her on the pre-noontime slot beginning October 24, and gave the BAES (along with Taki Sato) of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a lead role in ‘TROPS’.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Despite Airing March Madness, US NCAA Remains Out of BTV’s Equation

Creighton star Kobe Paras may be making his presence felt in the U.S. NCAA, but the league's lack of popularity in his home country continues to be a problem. (Photo credit: Fox Sports Asia)

Creighton star Kobe Paras may be making waves in the U.S. NCAA, but the league’s lack of popularity in his home country continues to be a problem. (Photo credit: Fox Sports Asia)

It is obvious that U.S. college basketball will never get the respect it deserves from Filipino hoop fans.

Such is the case for the U.S. NCAA men’s basketball tournament. While top conference tournaments such as the ACC, PAC-12 and the Big 12 air regularly on the FOX Sports family of networks and Sports Illustrated Asia, one network in the Philippines is noticeably absent.

The network in question is Solar Entertainment’s Basketball TV, who back in April aired the U.S. NCAA Final Four and Championship games alongside Solar Sports. Unfortunately, the network’s emphasis on the more popular NBA once again put into question their commitment to air next year’s March Madness, let alone the entire U.S. NCAA season.

The last time BTV actually aired regular season U.S. NCAA basketball games was back in the 2012-13 season. This was also the last time the network aired March Madness prior to last April.

The history between the U.S. NCAA and Basketball TV date back to the fledgling network’s first season in 2006-07. Back then, the network was home to several popular conference tournaments, and they also aired a select number of March Madness games as well.

Unfortunately, U.S. college basketball failed to make an imprint in the consciousness of Filipino hoop fans. Unlike the UAAP or the Filipino NCAA where its rules are based on FIBA’s template (hence a faster style of play), the U.S. NCAA employs a unique set of rules such as 20-minute halves, 30 or 35-second shot clocks, and one-and-one free throw situations.

It also did not help that U.S. college basketball players are essentially obscure names. The fact is, for Filipino hoop fans, they will only gain popularity if they were drafted in the NBA and play well there.

That said, BTV’s decision to drop the U.S. NCAA coverage back in the 2013-14 season was the right choice considering its lack of popularity here. While it did manage to air the Final Four in April, it was done out of necessity since no other network was committed enough to air.

Although Creighton’s Kobe Paras is trying to lift the profile of U.S. NCAA basketball in the Philippines, one thing is clear. U.S. NCAA hoops will never become as popular as the NBA here, and that’s a painful fact.

Underrated College Basketball Leagues Try to Etch Footprints on Philippine TV

The 2016 NAASCU basketball tournament is just one of three under-the-radar collegiate basketball competitions that received ample airtime on television this year. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The 2016 NAASCU basketball tournament is just one of three under-the-radar collegiate basketball competitions that received ample airtime on television this year. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The UAAP and the NCAA are not the only collegiate basketball tournaments that are making hoop fans jump for joy.

This year, three other college basketball tournaments are getting their much-needed due by way of television exposure. They are:

  • NAASCU (National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities)
  • CESAFI (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.)
  • UCBL (Universities and Colleges Basketball League)

The NAASCU is the third most popular collegiate sports league in the country behind the UAAP and the NCAA. The league is also the biggest membership-wise among the three, with a total of 14 member schools.

This year, the NAASCU men’s basketball tournament was televised via Solar Sports and Basketball TV, with the finals of the men’s, women’s and juniors tournaments also airing on the said networks. It marked the first time that the whole NAASCU tournament was aired on television; previous coverors in IBC-13 and Net 25 aired a select amount of games, with the latter focusing in particular on the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned New Era University teams.

The CESAFI, on the other hand, is the top collegiate sports league in the Visayas. Although the CESAFI is not as well-recognized as its Metro Manila counterparts, it nevertheless carved its own niche in the Filipino hoops scene by producing stars such as current Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter and San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo.

The 12-member CESAFI currently airs its basketball tournament on AksyonTV, and is produced by VIVA Sports. Previously, the games were aired on IBC-13.

And speaking of IBC-13, a new league began to sprout on the said channel. That league, the UCBL, is exclusively a basketball-only league unlike its fellow contemporaries, with seven schools from all over Luzon participating.

The UCBL games are produced by the Asian Television Content Corporation, the same outfit that produced the NAASCU and the PBA D-League on IBC-13. The deal to air the games was set a month ago, even as the network continues its privatization process.

Indeed, college basketball in the Philippines is on the upswing. Although the UAAP and the NCAA continue to be the darlings of the sport, the less heralded trio in the NAASCU, CESAFI and UCBL now try to find their own niche, and this should benefit the game of basketball as a whole in the country.