Philippines, Sports, television

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.

Advertisements
Standard
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.

 

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

AksyonTV Needs a Spinoff Channel

A revival of the AKTV brand on Channel 41, plus a new News5 Network on Cignal, should solve the identity crisis of AksyonTV. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

The time for AksyonTV to spin off into two separate channels is now.

The past few months saw AksyonTV increase its emphasis on sports coverage. Just recently, Sports5 acquired broadcast rights to the FilSports Basketball Association, the Philippine Commercial Basketball League*, the League of Legends World Championship, and the International Premier Tennis League.

This, in addition to existing broadcast rights to leagues such as the Philippine Super Liga, the United Football League and the Women’s National Collegiate Athletics Association, gives AksyonTV a more sports-oriented lineup than in past years. Further proof of the network’s ongoing evolution is the presence of instructional segments such as ‘TiuTorials’ and ‘Power Tips’, as well as other sporting highlights.

But while AksyonTV is now focusing more on sports, news programming remained a constant presence. Simulcasts of Radyo5 programs, TV5 newscasts and public affairs programming continue to air on the said network, as it has been the case since 2011.

The increasing imbalance between news and sports programming on AksyonTV should be a cause of concern to News5 and Sports5 heads Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Chot Reyes, respectively. As AksyonTV moves further and further into sports coverage, it is clear that they need to make a change.

Remember the AKTV block on IBC-13? Perhaps TV5 should revive the AKTV brand, and place it on free TV channel 41, in order to give ABS-CBN Sports+Action a run for their money.

If TV5 can improve that channel’s signal, AKTV-41 should pose a challenge to ABS-CBN’s free TV sports-oriented channel. That is a big if, since Sports+Action has the bigger sporting events such as the UAAP, NCAA and NBA to back it up.

As for the news half of AksyonTV, the best possible solution is to turn it into a Cignal-exclusive channel. Perhaps the name News5 Network (N5N) could fit the bill.

That channel should be News5’s answer to DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, as far as Cignal subscribers are concerned. Focusing mostly on Radyo5 simulcasts, TV5 newscasts, and even Digital5 exclusives should be the said network’s priority.

That said, the identity crisis on AksyonTV needs an immediate solution. Splitting it into two separate channels should benefit both News5 and Sports5 in the long term.

One can only hope that TV5 can make the right decision on their UHF counterpart. After all, they don’t want Channel 41 to look so cluttered.

*AksyonTV has dropped the PBA simulcasts on TV5 since the start of the 2015-16 season, in favor of airing the FBA and PCBL.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio, television

Overview of PNoy’s Final SONA Coverage

Eyes will be on President Noynoy Aquino as he makes his final State of the Nation Address. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

Welcome to SONA Monday.

Held every fourth Monday of July, the State of the Nation Address is an annual event where the President of the Philippines addresses the public of his accomplishments and plans for the nation. While the SONA is not a national holiday, it remains an important political event in the country, ranking just above the presidential inauguration and the national elections.

This year’s SONA will be the last for President Noynoy Aquino, and it will be interesting to see how he will respond to the recent string events that have plagued his administration. As always, it will be greeted by protests from those against his administration.

Television and radio coverage will once again be at the forefront of this annual event, so without further ado, here are the plans for some of the stations covering the SONA.

ABS-CBN

The SONA coverage on Channel 2 will proceed after ‘Flordeliza’. ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737 Gold’ and ‘Mission Possible’ will be preempted, while ‘Kapamilya: Deal or No Deal’ may be preempted in case the SONA runs overtime.

ABS-CBN will use three different broadcast teams for their coverage. Channel 2 will be led by Ted Failon and Lynda Jumilla, ANC will be led by Tony Velasquez and Karmina Constantino, and DZMM TeleRadyo and Radyo Patrol 630 will be led by Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja.

A live and uninterrupted feed of the coverage will also be streamed on abs-cbnnews.com. It is unknown if the SONA coverage will also be seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, since the NCAA will no longer be in conflict with the SONA.

TV5

The SONA coverage on TV5 will proceed after the Marvel animation block. ‘Hi-5 Philippines’ will be the only show preempted, as ‘Movie Max 5’ only airs as a filler program.

TV5 will utilize a parallel broadcast approach for the coverage. Erwin Tulfo and Cheryl Cosim will anchor TV5’s coverage of the SONA on four different platforms: TV5, AksyonTV, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and News5Everywhere.

GMA

The SONA coverage on GMA will proceed after ‘The Half-Sisters’. ‘Buena Familia”s premiere will be moved tomorrow, while ‘Healing Hearts’, ‘Alisto’ and possibly ‘Birth of a Beauty’ will be preempted.

The press release of the network only indicated that Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez will anchor Channel 7’s coverage. Whether or not it will be a parallel coverage or a separate coverage on Channel 7, GMA News TV, GMA News Online and Super Radyo DZBB 594 remains to be seen.

All AM stations, save for specialty ones, will also pool their resources for the SONA coverage. Updates on the event will also be provided by a few FM stations.

Net 25 will also cover the SONA, but since it takes place on the same day as the Iglesia ni Cristo’s 101st founding anniversary, the primary focus of the station could be on the latter. UNTV will also handle their own coverage of the event.

Finally, the neophyte CNN Philippines (formerly Solar News Channel and 9TV) will join in on the SONA fun for the first time. Their coverage of the SONA will be anchored by Jing Magsaysay and Pia Hontiveros.

Regardless of the station, the entire nation will pay attention to the statements made by President Aquino. His last SONA will be very important, so keep an eye on what he says.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard