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

Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Returns to ABS-CBN

After an unsuccessful three-year stint with TV5, the NCAA returns to ABS-CBN Sports starting with Season 91. (Photo credit: ABS-CBNNews.com)

The NCAA returns to an old friend.

It was announced that the NCAA will once again join forces with ABS-CBN Sports for the next ten years, beginning with Season 91 that is slated to open on June 27. This ends a rather unfruitful three-year partnership between the league and previous coveror TV5.

Under the terms of a new contract, ABS-CBN Sports+Action will air the NCAA seniors basketball games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with a total of seven games a week. Most games will be at the FilOil Flying V Arena, while select marquee matchups will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In addition, Sports+Action will air the playoffs of women’s volleyball, as well as short highlights of the league’s other sports. Overall, the ten-year deal between the NCAA and ABS-CBN is aimed at promoting, developing, building and stabilizing the NCAA in a sporting and marketing standpoint.

ABS-CBN Sports and the NCAA first joined forces in Season 78 (2002-03), with host San Beda College responsible for the deal. The initial partnership resulted in wider and more extensive game coverage for the league, whereas in prior years it only received fringe coverage in other networks.

The NCAA’s first foray with ABS-CBN Sports lasted for ten seasons. Then in Season 88, the league joined forces with Sports5, hoping to bring in additional televised games and attract more viewers in the process.

However, the league and Sports5 encountered numerous problems, such as constant scheduling changes, lack of marketing and promotion, and network assignments. TV5 also lacked the resources to improve its power, reach and accessibility, as well as adapting to new technologies such as online live-streaming.

That said, the marriage between TV5 and the NCAA was destined to fail. And it did.

Now that the NCAA has returned to ABS-CBN Sports, fans can only hope that the latter will deliver the little things that TV5 failed to do. The long-term contract between the two parties should help the NCAA grow not only as a league, but as a brand, something ABS-CBN Sports was able to do with the UAAP.

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports begins this June 27. 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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