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To be honest, this rule should have been repealed.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

The NCAA Season 92 on ABS-CBN Sports: An Overview

Year 2 (12th overall) of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now underway.

The 92nd season of the NCAA kicked off last Saturday with the traditional opening ceremonies and the first seniors doubleheader, headlined by the Season 91 finals rematch of arch-rivals San Beda and Letran. The ceremonies were also highlighted by the retirement of San Beda basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga’s no. 14 jersey.

Unfortunately for the fans of the league, the following day’s seniors tripleheader was not aired on ABS-CBN Sports+Action. The reason: ABS-CBN and the NCAA agreed that they will only air games every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for the season, save for last Saturday’s opener.

Not much is changed in the presentation of ABS-CBN’s coverage from Season 91. However, there is a new scheduling format, which include:

  • Seniors tripleheaders every Tuesday and Friday unless specified
  • Seniors doubleheaders every Thursday, usually preceded by juniors doubleheaders
  • Four or five-game juniors slate every Monday

In essence, a week’s worth of NCAA seniors basketball coverage will amount to at most eight games per week. The utilization of tripleheaders and five-game slates on select dates is intended on shortening the duration of the season, however, postponement of games may take place in the event of natural calamities.

Most games will be held at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Select marquee matchups will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

This season’s NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports team will include the following:

Play-by-play announcers

  • Andrei Felix
  • Martin Javier
  • Boom Labrusca
  • Anton Roxas

Analysts

  • Martin Antonio
  • Migs Bustos
  • Olsen Racela
  • Mikee Reyes
  • Renren Ritualo

Courtside reporters

  • Sarah Carlos
  • Roxanne Montealegre
  • Myrtle Sarrosa
  • Ceej Tantengco

Every game day will feature a number of interactive segments, such as halftime school and player features, ‘Smile, You’re on Cam’ and viewer tweets. If last season’s success was any indication, then expect a lot more of these throughout this season.

Aside from seniors basketball (with a mid-season all-star game to boot), the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports will also cover the final four of women’s volleyball and beach volleyball. Highlights from other sports will also be featured on the ABS-CBN Sports+Action highlight show ‘The Score’, hosted by either TJ Manotoc or Anton Roxas.

All games will be seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, both in SD (channel 23) and HD (channel 166 and 701). It will also air via live streaming on the ABS-CBN Sports official website.

This season’s theme will be ‘Sports Builds Character: Achieving Breakthrough @Season 92’. San Beda College will be this season’s host.

After the unpredictable ending to Season 91, it will be interesting to see how Season 92 turns out. But if last season’s success was any indication, then wait and see what comes next this season.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Balls Bids Farewell, Plus UFC Moves to Sports5

Balls will air for the final time on December 31, 2015, and most sporting content will be transferred to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action the following day. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs, Inc./ABS-CBN)

Balls’ days are numbered.

SkyCable announced that Balls will cease to air after December 31, 2015, ending a seven-year run. The permanent sign-off of Balls will involve both its standard definition (channel 34) and high definition (channel 195) feeds.

 

Most sports programming on Balls will be moved to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action starting next year. An HD counterpart of the latter network will also be launched.

Debuting on January 1, 2008, Balls became the home to some of the world’s top sporting events, ranging from UEFA and FIFA soccer competitions to FIVB tournaments. It also aired both the French Open and U.S. Open tennis, as well as European Tour and Asian Tour golf.

Balls made history on July 16, 2009 when it launched Balls HD, the first-ever Filipino HD television channel. The channel aired both the UAAP and NCAA tournaments, as well as a select few international tournaments.

But perhaps Balls’ biggest claim to fame was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The premier mixed martial arts organization began airing on Balls in 2009, and the latter was credited with popularizing the UFC in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, with Balls about to leave the airwaves, it is clear that ABS-CBN Sports has no intention of keeping the UFC rights. As a result, the broadcast rights of UFC will be moved to Sports5 starting next year.

Sports5’s plan is to air the UFC live on the Cignal-exclusive Hyper channel, with delayed broadcasts on TV5. However, it remains to be seen if fight fans will respond well to the change, considering that Hyper is still a work in progress and is not as well-known as its competitors.

That said, it’s up to Sports5 to reinforce Hyper with more well-known sporting events. The UFC may be a good way to start, but it’s not enough to put them on top just yet.

As for ABS-CBN Sports, the time to sort out the mess is now. With Balls going off the air, ABS-CBN Sports+Action has a bigger dilemma ahead of them.

 

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Evaluating the First Month of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports V.2

The NCAA’s return to ABS-CBN Sports has been a good one so far. (Logo courtesy of the NCAA)

The second incarnation of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now a month old.

The oldest collegiate league in the country returned to ABS-CBN Sports in hopes of getting back on track. So far, though, viewers were treated to a slightly similar broadcast approach as the one that Sports5 previously handled, with a few differences of course.

Here’s a look at how ABS-CBN was able to make their mark on the league so far.

Use of Taglish

Unexpectedly, the network decided to use Taglish while calling the games. In their first run from 2002-12, ABS-CBN Sports announcers called the NCAA games in English, but with Sports+Action increasingly attracting a mass audience, the use of Taglish was necessitated.

This was the same approach that TV5 used when they covered the NCAA, but unfortunately for them, they failed to catch on for various reasons.

Emphasis on Social Media

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports also tapped in a new market called social media. Throughout each game, tweets and Instagram posts from players, fans and even basketball enthusiasts are read by the announcers in relation to the game at hand, with an official hashtag to boot.

They even allow announcers to take pre-game selfies (a novel practice in sports broadcasting), which are then posted to their individual Instagram accounts. And for the curious viewers, graphics of the announcers’ names now include their Twitter and/or Instagram accounts.

New Announcers

Speaking of announcers, ABS-CBN Sports employed a mix of young and experienced broadcasters to the NCAA game. Anton Roxas and Andrei Felix were carried over from the original incarnation, while Boom Labrusca, who also doubles as a courtside reporter, is a neophyte to the play-by-play profession.

Unlike TV5 which used former professional players as analysts, ABS-CBN hired mostly former collegiate standouts in order to relate better with the college game. The network has used Mikee Reyes, Migs Bustos, Martin Antonio and Olsen Racela to analyze the games, with Racela having also worked with the Sports5 crew in the past.

Familiar and Not-So Familiar Courtside Reporters

Those who have watched the NCAA so far may notice some familiar and unsuspecting faces to the courtside reporter spot. Before the season began, ABS-CBN Sports announced that cosplayer, Hero TV jock and former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ housemate Myrtle Sarrosa would be one of the courtside reporters for the season.

Since then, Myrtle was joined by the aforementioned Boom Labrusca, followed by Ceej Tantengco and Rox Montealegre. Quite a familiar bunch, but one with little experience to the world of sports.

The ABS-CBN Sports courtside reporters have three different responsibilities:

  1. To report on the teams’ strategies,
  2. To interview a player’s family members and friends, school alumni, students or fans, and
  3. To interview players and coaches during pregame and postgame (if applicable)

The said strategy is similar to what TV5 employed, but with less on-cam time.

Halftime Presentations

Halftime of each game usually consists of a brief glimpse of a school’s cheering exhibition, followed by a special feature and an analysis of the first half. For the viewers who had enough of TV5’s radical changes (e.g. Moneyball), this is a welcome development to bring back the intended mission of the NCAA: to promote loyalty, camaraderie and school spirit.

HD Broadcasts and Return of Smart and PLDT

In a surprise move, ABS-CBN welcomed Smart and PLDT as sponsors. The two telecommunications outfits are a sister company of ABS-CBN’s competitor TV5, which is a stunning move to say the least.

And finally, the NCAA games are now broadcast in its full 16:9 HD glory. While ABS-CBN Sports was the first to broadcast an event in HD, they did not fully take advantage of the new technology until this year.

So far, it’s been a beneficial first month of NCAA coverage. And while some would disagree with these moves, ABS-CBN is clearly intent on taking serious steps to make the NCAA more appealing to the masses.

The season is still a long way to go, but from the looks of it, the NCAA has found a perfect partner to thrive with. With a few tweaks, expect this partnership to last a lot longer.

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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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Philippines, Sports, television

With NCAA Out, TV5 Focuses on International Multi-Sport Events

Coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games will be held exclusively by Sports5. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The loss of NCAA rights did not stop TV5 from pursuing other sporting events.

Starting today, TV5’s family of channels will have a live and exclusive coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The SEA Games will be aired on three different platforms: VHF channel TV5, UHF channel AksyonTV 41 and livestreaming site Sports5.ph.

A majority of the coverage will be dedicated to the Philippine national teams, with major focus on the country’s basketball, volleyball and football teams. Sports5 will also provide highlights to the country’s other teams, such as athletics, boxing and swimming.

While the opening ceremonies will take place on June 5, preliminaries of events such as football, netball and table tennis will get underway today. Both the opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Singapore National Stadium, which will also host the athletics and football events.

In the previous SEA Games at Myanmar two years ago, the Philippines endured its worst performance of the event, finishing a paltry seventh in the medal round. Much of the blame is centered on Myanmar’s inclusion of indigenous sports in lieu of other well-known disciplines, forcing the country to send a smaller-than-expected delegation.

The poor performance of the country was further justified by the lack of extensive coverage by previous coveror ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23), who only covered basketball, football and boxing. The reluctance and eventual unwillingness of ABS-CBN Sports to extensively cover the event marked the low point of the SEA Games on Philippine television.

With ABS-CBN Sports now focusing more on college sports such as the UAAP and the recently-acquired NCAA, TV5 decided to further its portfolio towards international multi-sporting events. And the SEA Games became their latest coup.

The acquisition of the SEA Games, along with prior additions such as the Olympics and the Asian Games, gave Sports5 the three most important events in the calendar of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Not since the early 2000s had the rights to these three events belonged to one network.

That said, it is now up to TV5 to bring back a sense of pride and honor to the Filipino athlete. This year’s SEA Games should be a proving ground for the Philippines to regain its place among Southeast Asia’s best.

The 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore will be held from June 5-16.

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