Philippines, Sports, television

When UAAP Courtside Reporting Is Not a Safe Bet

It is not easy to be a courtside reporter.

After all, it is considered one of the most highly scrutinized positions in the world of sports broadcasting. The best people on the job are those who can relate well to the audience, speak clearly and articulately, and exude confidence whenever possible.

In ABS-CBN Sports’ coverage of the UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, a courtside reporter is hired not because he/she is pretty or handsome, but because the network wants them to represent the school with both enthusiasm and pride. Unfortunately, there are those who were simply not up to the task.

Last Saturday, ABS-CBN quietly replaced Nicole Sumagui with Stef Monce as Adamson University’s courtside reporter. No explanation was made regarding the change, but observant viewers saw that Sumagui stuttered at times, was tentative and lacked confidence in her abilities.

Sumagui was not the first courtside reporter to get the pink slip early in the season. There have been two such cases in which a UAAP courtside reporter was replaced before the season concluded.

Prior to UAAP Season 73 (2010-11), ABS-CBN assigned Karen Rozul to be the courtside reporter of National University. But the network replaced her with the late Maan Panganiban when they realized that Rozul was not confident enough for the job.

Two seasons later, NU endured some deja vu when the ineffective Muriel Orais was dismissed in favor of Steph Sy. Sy, like Stef Monce later on, had already exhausted her two-year eligibility, but ABS-CBN reinstated her for a third year due to this untimely circumstance.

For all the talk about the next Pia Arcangel, Lia Cruz, Riki Flores, Aaron Atayde, Nikko Ramos and Laura Lehmann, there are those like Karen Rozul, Muriel Orais and Nicole Sumagui who do not deserve to be in the same room. They may have survived the auditions, yet they failed to translate that into at least one year’s worth of on-the-job training for a future broadcasting career.

UAAP courtside reporting is not an easy task, but if one can survive and fulfill a dream, then it should bode well for their future career paths.¬† With the second round of men’s basketball plus a full slate of women’s volleyball still to come, all eyes are on the seven rookies and one returnee to see if they have what it takes to be a great UAAP courtside reporter.

Note: Aside from Stef Monce, this season’s roster of UAAP courtside reporters consist of Martie Bautista (Ateneo de Manila University), Eileen Shi (De La Salle University), Sydney Crespo (Far Eastern University), Miguel Dypiangco (National University), Migs Gomez (University of the East), Agatha Uvero (University of the Philippines) and Tonie Moreno (University of Sto. Tomas).

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Philippines, Sports, television

Improving the UAAP Finals Setup on Channel 2

FEU and NU will meet in the UAAP men’s basketball finals starting this Saturday, with select games airing on ABS-CBN Channel 2. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament is down to just two teams.

For the first time since Season 55 (1992), neither the De La Salle Green Archers nor the Ateneo Blue Eagles will be involved in the championship round. Instead it will feature the FEU Tamaraws and the National University Bulldogs, who disposed their respective opponents in Wednesday’s sudden-death semis matches.

The unlikely pairing between FEU and NU is not only ‘the best thing that ever happened in the UAAP’, according to FEU head coach Nash Racela, but it also makes for some compelling television as well. Both teams are aching to end a nine and 60-year title drought, respectively, and are also seeking redemption after they fell short in last year’s Final Four.

For the fifth consecutive season, select games of the UAAP men’s basketball finals will be aired live on ABS-CBN Channel 2. But despite the fact that they have aired the finals for five years, there were only three potential championship clinchers that aired on Channel 2; namely, 2011’s Ateneo-FEU Game 2, and Games 2 and 3 of last year’s La Salle-UST finals.

Let’s face it, in spite of the high ratings that ABS-CBN enjoyed with the UAAP, the one thing that is holding them back is its programming lineup. Since Channel 2 began broadcasting the UAAP men’s basketball finals, the only day that Channel 2 was able to broadcast is on Saturday afternoons, as timeslots on other days of the week were shut out in favor of teleseryes, and in the case of Sundays, ‘The Buzz’.

That said, ABS-CBN should have been figuring out this mess already. Perhaps they can use this setup: Game 1 on a weekday via ABS-CBN Sports+Action, and all potential clinchers on a Saturday via ABS-CBN Channel 2.

With this setup, more viewers will be interested in a possible must-win game rather than an appetizer of a series opener. But then again, this approach will depend on weather conditions that may postpone any game.

Nevertheless, this year’s finals between FEU and NU should be an interesting one, regardless of which ABS-CBN channel will air the game live.¬†While¬†the Finals won’t have the benefit of a popular star like Kiefer Ravena or Jeron Teng to fill viewers’ appetites, it should still give them plenty to cheer for two teams with contrasting yet proud UAAP¬†legacies.

And with that, may the best team win. Good luck.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Amid Fan Demand, UAAP Men’s Basketball Finally Schedules Primetime Games

A night game between La Salle and NU on September 13 marked yet another first in the history of UAAP men’s basketball. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

Welcome to primetime basketball, UAAP.

On September 13, the first night game in the history of UAAP men’s basketball took place inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The historic game pitted the De La Salle Green Archers and the National University Bulldogs, both of which went on to play in the season’s Final Four alongside the Ateneo Blue Eagles and FEU Tamaraws.

The historic night game was necessitated since the four teams on that day’s doubleheader were contending for a Final Four slot. With the stakes at its highest, and in anticipation of a possible sellout, the league decided to have two separate games on the same day instead of a traditional doubleheader, something they’ve been using during Ateneo-La Salle matches.

But instead of a morning and an afternoon game, the league experimented with a 2:00 p.m. game and a 6:00 p.m. game, in hopes of attracting more spectators. And on September 13, history was made in the UAAP.

Scheduling night games in Philippine college basketball is not a new concept. The NCAA experimented with this approach in Seasons 88 and 89, but abandoned it once TV5 joined alongside incumbent coveror and sister station AksyonTV in the coverage of the games.

Too bad few fans showed up to watch a primetime NCAA game, further compounding its issues in television coverage.

While the UAAP men’s basketball tournament is increasing in popularity, the league still needed something to spice up fan interest. This is where night games come to the picture.

Fortunately for coveror ABS-CBN Sports+Action, their scheduling flexibility allowed them to air this historic live match. And for the league’s legion of fans, the night game between La Salle and NU only adds to the UAAP’s growing popularity.

Tomorrow’s do-or-die Final Four matches (Ateneo vs. NU; La Salle vs. FEU) will again have a night game on the schedule. This time, however, three matches will be on the bill, thanks to the inclusion of the first game of the women’s basketball finals between FEU and NU.

In fact, all three games will be aired live on Sports+Action, furthering its commitment to the UAAP cause.

For a league that continues to grow with every season, the historic night of September 13, 2014 will always be remembered in UAAP annals. It was a night that the UAAP and its fans will never forget, and the legend will only rise from here.

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