Philippines, Sports, television

PBA to Open Season as Scheduled

The Philippine Arena will play host to the Manila Clasico between Ginebra and Magnolia this December 25. It hosted the last three games of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup to record crowds. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Good news for PBA fans.

The Philippine Basketball Association will open its new season this Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. It will be highlighted by the customary opening ceremonies and the kickoff game between defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen and the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

Opening the new season is important for the league even as it endured the controversy surrounding commissioner Chito Narvasa. Globalport governor Mikee Romero made it clear about the PBA’s importance to the masses.

“Hindi pwedeng mawala ang PBA sa Pilipino, or ang Pilipino mawala sa PBA. That’s why we’re all here. I think we’re a very solid group at this point in time. Come December 17, as what we promised — [one] that did not come from me, [but] from all 12 teams.”

“Any internal problems or whatever that we have, we will deal with it internally, within ourselves, within the 12 of us. We don’t want to elaborate or any more matters. As we told you, this Sunday, what we should be watching are the players, the superstars of PH basketball. 43 years, ang masasabi ko lang, let the games begin.”

The PBA was coming off an otherwise successful 42nd season where the San Miguel Beermen ruled the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel won the Governors’ Cup. However, a controversial and disputed trade between the Beermen and Kia Picanto involving consensus top pick Christian Standhardinger led to chaos that took a month to resolve.

The opening of the 43rd PBA season will also benefit official broadcaster ESPN5 as well. Right after the PBA season opener, ESPN5 will premiere ‘SportsCenter Philippines’ as its leadout program, giving the latter a much-needed shot in the arm.

On December 25, the PBA will hold its annual Christmas Day games at the Philippine Arena, highlighted by the ‘Manila Clasico’ between Ginebra and Magnolia Hotshots (formerly the Star Hotshots). The rest of the league’s schedule will see the Philippine Cup last until March, followed by the Commissioner’s Cup from March to June, and the Governors’ Cup from June to September.

Let the games begin. Good luck.

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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

Thoughts on ABS-CBN Sports’ Changes to UAAP Men’s Basketball Coverage

Not great enough: ABS-CBN Sports’ changes on the UAAP men’s basketball coverage drew mixed opinions from viewers. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

Too long, too many.

That was the criticism of some viewers when ABS-CBN Sports began its coverage of UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball. Despite its promise to ‘go for great’, the new-look coverage hasn’t so far lived up to the greatness that ABS-CBN Sports envisioned.

For the first two weeks of UAAP men’s basketball, ABS-CBN added two TV timeouts from the first to third quarters. Those TV timeouts do not count as far as team timeouts were concerned, but despite its intent to rake in more sponsorship money, viewers were not happy with it as these timeouts only lengthen the duration of a game.

In response to viewer backlash, ABS-CBN decided to restrict themselves to only one TV timeout each during the first, second and third quarters. The reduction did not affect the overall game play however, as UAAP men’s basketball games continue to last at an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes per game, which is almost equal to a typical PBA game broadcast.

Another change that ABS-CBN implemented is the concept of the ‘UAAP Insider’. Former courtside reporters Ganiel Krishnan, Angelique Manto, Ira Pablo and Pauline Versoza were promoted to this position, and their responsibility as insiders is to help the announcers preview an upcoming game and interview coaches during halftime.

The addition of the UAAP Insider now brings the overall total of ABS-CBN’s on-air team to five (not including floor directors, cameramen and other behind-the-scenes staff). Unfortunately, these on-air talents receive fewer minutes of airtime compared to a typical courtside reporter, so it remains to be seen how ABS-CBN Sports will treat this new position well.

The pregame show ‘Upfront at the UAAP’ also received a makeover heading into the new season. The program is no longer aired live; instead it takes on a magazine show format that only airs before weekend UAAP men’s basketball games.

The current hosts of ‘Upfront at the UAAP’ are Janeena Chan, Arturo Daza, Martin Javier and Angelique Manto. Of the four, Janeena is the lone holdover from the first season of the program.

Speaking of ‘Upfront at the UAAP’, one of its former hosts has a new role on cam. Former women’s basketball standout Bea Daez was promoted to full-time analyst, and while this is not the first time that a woman will cover a men’s basketball game in the Philippines (Patricia Hizon once called PBA games during its time with Solar Entertainment), it was still a remarkable barrier-breaking achievement.

So far, so good, but not great enough. Notwithstanding these minor hiccups, ABS-CBN Sports has plenty of time to make things up, so let’s see how they will be able to make the UAAP men’s basketball coverage into something that is ‘great’.

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Philippines, Sports, television

In 150 Words: TV5’s PSL Coverage Does the Right Thing with Ad Placement, Sort Of

Remember a previous article about the biggest eyesore in TV5’s PBA coverage?

Well, it looks like they somewhat rectified the issue by printing ad stickers. The only problem: they placed these stickers on taraflex volleyball courts during Sports5’s coverage of the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) rather than the hardwood courts in PBA games.

And it’s not just one ad. Sports5 basically littered the court with 16 stickers, seven of which feature the same logo on each side.

While the PSL is trying its best to earn money by featuring sponsors on the court, they still have plenty more issues to worry about. Of course, the concern about signal strength, subscription and reach remain a priority, since AksyonTV and Hyper’s limited coverage area hinders PSL’s ability to attract a major following.

For now, though, getting ads on the court is a nice start. If they can somehow solve this perennial issue of television coverage, they could become just as big a hit as rival Premier Volleyball League (PVL).

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entertainment, lifestyle, Philippines, reality show, television

In 100 Words: Lakbai on TV5

The son of President Rodrigo Duterte will have a TV show of his own.

Starting this Sunday, TV5 will air the travel special ‘Lakbai’, headlined by presidential son Sebastian ‘Baste’ Duterte. Joining him on the ride are good friends Atty. Alexis Lumbatan, Sboi Malicay, Andrei Apostol, and YouTube sensation Bogart the Explorer.

Over the next two months, the boys of ‘Lakbai’ (short for ‘Laktaw ta Bai’) will go to various picturesque spots in the country to not only explore the unknown, but also to join in on some fun activities that will deepen their bond together. The show will be showcased in Tagalog and Bisaya dialects.

‘Lakbai’ airs starting this Sunday after the PBA on TV5.

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