Philippines, Sports, television

FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Air on ESPN5

The Philippines’ premier preseason tournament for college basketball has found a new home.

When the 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup kicks off on April 21, it will have a new television partner. For this season, ESPN5, via T5N and AksyonTV, will broadcast a select number of games plus the entirety of the playoffs.

Here is the game schedule of the upcoming FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup. All games will take place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

All seniors teams of the UAAP and NCAA will participate in the tournament. However, the biggest surprise came when the cadets of the Gilas Pilipinas national team announced that it will join the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, with each of its games to be treated as official matches and not mere exhibitions.

This will mark the first time that ESPN5 will cover live Philippine college basketball games since the rebrand last year. Prior to that, the then-Sports5 was home to the NCAA seniors basketball tournament from Seasons 88 to 90 (2012-15); this does not include the 2016 CESAFI which aired on AksyonTV but produced by VIVA.

It will also mark the return of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Philippine television for the first time since 2016. Last year none of its games were aired on television and were streamed live on Facebook instead.

While the games featuring the Gilas cadets will headline ESPN5’s coverage, it will also take a look at the legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that will have new recruits getting their first taste of this long-running saga. In addition, old NCAA rivalries between San Beda and La Salle, and Ateneo and San Beda, will also be aired.

As for non-televised games, these are expected to air on the FilOil Flying V Sports’ Facebook page. Highlights of these games will also be featured on SportsCenter Philippines.

The FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup will run from April 21 to June 24.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Barely Recognizable: PBA News Seldom Mentioned in Other Networks

Hardly mentioned: News surrounding the PBA is a seldom occurrence in ABS-CBN and GMA newscasts. (Photo credit: Philippine Basketball Association)

News surrounding the Philippine Basketball Association is hard to come by these days.

Once one of the Philippines’ national pastimes, the league has fallen on hard times in recent years due to a bevy of controversies. Nowadays, the PBA is barely mentioned at all in  TV networks outside ESPN5, a byproduct of declining interest that has alarmed the league of late.

One network, in particular, has repeatedly shunned the PBA when it comes to sports news. Enter ABS-CBN and its family of networks.

In ABS-CBN’s most recent year-end sports report, there was not even a single mention about the PBA. The network, in particular, failed to account the 50,000 or so crowd that saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel win Game 7 of the Governors’ Cup finals over the Meralco Bolts, or the two championships won by the San Miguel Beermen last season, or the Christian Standhardinger-Chito Narvasa controversy.

It has been a pattern that is constant for the past several years. Instead of the PBA, ABS-CBN’s TV newscasts focused more on its sports properties such as the UAAP, NCAA, NBA and ABL, as well as national teams such as the Gilas basketball team and the Azkals football team.

In fairness, ANC’s Hardball, DZMM’s Fastbreak and ABS-CBN’s sports and news websites always make up for the newscasts’ oversight by mentioning and even talking about the PBA in greater detail. But even that is not enough to slap some sense in ABS-CBN’s mindset.

Now what about GMA? While they also report about the PBA on their news websites, they also do not mention the league’s news on their newscasts, and worse, they barely care about the world of sports at all since they do not even have a sports division.

Which leaves us to the only two networks that do take a look at the PBA on a regular basis: PTV-4’s ‘PTV Sports’ and CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’. Much like the PBA, they are hardly recognizable in the viewers’ consciousness, but at least they are doing their best to cover the league’s latest news with consistency and detail.

But for the two network giants in South Triangle, not mentioning the PBA on television is an disgrace to the league. Yes its popularity may have slipped of late due to these internal issues, but the PBA is still an important part of the Filipino sporting landscape and something needs to be done to rekindle the league’s interests.

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news, Philippines, Sports, television

Dissecting the Filipino Sports News Landscape with Entry of SportsCenter Philippines

It has been an eventful month so far for sports news programs in the Philippines.

As of this week there are four weekday sports news programs that currently air on Philippine television. These include:

  1. The Score (ABS-CBN S+A) – anchored by TJ Manotoc
  2. Sports Desk (CNN Philippines) – morning edition anchored by Andrei Felix, evening editions anchored by Mico Halili
  3. Gametime (ABS-CBN News Channel) – anchored by Migs Bustos
  4. PTV Sports (People’s Television Network) – anchored by Dennis Principe, Meg Siozon, Angel Atienza and Arianne Mallare

On Sunday, December 17, a fifth program will emerge. As part of ESPN’s new deal with TV5, the network will officially premiere its version of ‘SportsCenter’, to be anchored by Aaron Atayde and Lia Cruz.

Before viewers can get excited about ‘SportsCenter Philippines’, here is a summary of how each current program brings to the table. These are ranked according to quality and depth.

Sports Desk

A holdover from Solar News Channel era, CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’ has by far the best content of sports news that is to offer. The program is not shy to tackle all the sports news that people should know, whether it is the UAAP, the PBA or even other local and international sports.

It also helps that it airs three times a day, at 11:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. However, with news of Mico Halili potentially departing CNN Philippines for perhaps a full-time role as a commentator with ABS-CBN Sports, can the show continue to deliver with regular substitute Paolo del Rosario?

PTV Sports

This program has been in and out of PTV-4’s lineup in recent years (remember Snow Badua?), but its latest iteration is simply a straight-up summary of the whole day’s worth of sports news. There are a few interviews here and there but other than that, they are more into quick bursts of reports.

However, as PTV-4 is a government station, there is a tendency for the program to be preempted whenever President Rodrigo Duterte makes an appearance on national television. Still, when the show does air, expect plenty of juice extracted in each report.

Gametime/The Score

Both shows are currently aired on ABS-CBN sister channels: ‘Gametime’ on ANC and ‘The Score’ on S+A. Unfortunately, they do not offer much in terms of sports news as they merely focus on sporting events currently handled by ABS-CBN Sports (e.g. UAAP, NCAA, NBA, ABL), not to mention they do not usually air live.

For those who seek a greater scope into sports news (albeit on a weekly basis), there is ‘Hardball’ on ANC and ‘Fastbreak’ on DZMM. It’s sad to say that both ‘Gametime’ and ‘The Score’ are a disappointment since ABS-CBN treated them like a showbiz news program that is biased towards a particular network’s artists.

So what expectations do people have for ‘SportsCenter Philippines’? For one, the show will premiere on a Sunday (a weekend no less) and it is assumed that the program will air seven days a week as opposed to a mere weekday airing that other shows do.

Also, with TV5 possibly rebranding into a full-on sports network as ESPN5, the network is expected to highlight ‘SportsCenter Philippines’ as its centerpiece program with all the sports news that people should know. That said, it will be interesting to see how this new player fares amid a crowd of sports-hungry fans.

Good luck to ESPN5. As for its competitors, there is no way to go but up.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Thoughts on U.S. NCAA College Basketball on ESPN5

ESPN5 will cover some of the U.S. NCAA intra and interconference games this season, and they will also air March Madness in March 2018. (Photo credit: National Collegiate Athletic Association)

The NBA may still be the most popular global basketball league for Filipinos, but ESPN5 is looking to change that perspective.

When TV5 and ESPN joined forces to establish ESPN5 last month, one of the things that they addressed is the lack of serious attention towards U.S. college basketball in the Philippines. While TV5 has been able to broadcast the March Madness portion of U.S. NCAA basketball in recent years, regular season coverage was only restricted to obscure networks such as All-Sports Network (now Sports Illustrated Asia).

That changed last Wednesday when ESPN5 began to air intra and inter-conference games of the U.S. NCAA Division I basketball season. Weekly doubleheaders are currently aired, live or delayed, starting at 8:00 a.m. on days where the NFL is not aired, and the frequency is expected to increase once the NFL season ends.

Even though the U.S. NCAA is expected to provide a boost to ESPN5, there are still some doubts as to whether or not this league will thrive among Filipino basketball fans. Here are some questions that may test the Filipino’s knowledge of the U.S. NCAA.

  1. Do they know some of these up-and-coming U.S. college basketball stars (e.g. Marvin Bagley)?
  2. Do they know top rivalries such as Duke vs. North Carolina and Kentucky vs. Louisville?
  3. Do they know the rules of the U.S. NCAA which is drastically different from the NBA and FIBA?
  4. Do they know each college and university’s nicknames, colors, cultures and traditions?
  5. Do they have the patience and time to even care about U.S. college basketball?

That said, it will not be easy for ESPN5 to promote U.S. NCAA basketball despite the Filipinos’ love of the game. Much like the NBA, the PBA and even local college hoops such as the UAAP and the NCAA, expect plenty of growing pains before the U.S. NCAA becomes embedded in every Filipino basketball fan.

But does ESPN5 have plenty of time and money to do so? Considering the limits of its licensing deal with TV5, not to mention the network’s poor reach, they really need all the time and power in the world to cultivate the U.S. NCAA into a part of Filipino basketball culture.

Oh well. In any case, let’s give ESPN5 the best of luck with the U.S. NCAA because it is going to be a rough ride ahead.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

In and Out: TV5 Announces, Then Pulls Out NFL

Unless things change, the NFL will not be seen on Philippine television in the foreseeable future after Sports Illustrated Asia backed out and TV5 pulled out any scheduled games from its lineup. (Photo courtesy of the National Football League)

America’s most popular sport appears to be on its way out of the Philippines.

Sports Illustrated Asia, formerly the All-Sports Network (ASN), dropped the NFL from its lineup of programs at the start of the 2017 season. The channel best known for airing the National Hockey League, U.S. NCAA college football and college basketball had been broadcasting NFL games for nearly a decade now.

Almost simultaneously, TV5 announced that they will carry NFL games this season. But as soon as they placed the schedule of NFL games on its website, they decided to pull them out at the last minute in favor of ‘Movie Max 5’.

This means that for the first time in decades, the NFL will not be seen on Philippine television this season (unless one network will air the Super Bowl this February). It’s a shame considering that the league has had a long and distinguished love affair with Filipino sports fans and American expats, even though it falls behind basketball, volleyball and soccer in terms of local popularity.

Going back to TV5, the last-minute pullout of NFL games is the latest in a series of blunders committed by the network this month. Last week, TV5 ceased airing Cartoon Network and Boomerang shows in favor of TV shopping and movies, then in another last-minute move, they postponed anew the premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Amo’.

These moves are typical of Chot Reyes’ incompetence as a network executive. Once lauded for promoting the network’s ‘Choose Courage’ mantra, Chot’s questionable decisions has now turned the slogan into a joke.

The NFL, despite its lack of popularity in the Philippines, would have filled TV5’s suddenly moribund schedule. Had it aired as scheduled, people would have praised Chot Reyes for this fearless and courageous move.

Instead, Chot retreated like a coward and instructed his staff to pull them out in favor of endless Tagalized movies and TV shopping blocks. Which leads to where TV5 is now, a network lacking any sense of direction.

Considering the expensive broadcast rights of the NFL, perhaps TV5 was right in not pursuing the league. But without a ‘Plan B’, all signs point to Chot Reyes becoming a pariah in the world of Philippine television.

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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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