entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

1995 Flashback: The Beginning of the End for PTV’s Sports Coverage

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

Sports coverage on the People’s Television Network (PTV-4) was at its peak in 1995.

That year, PTV was the major broadcast home for the following events:

  • PBA 21st season (co-produced with Vintage Sports)
  • Chiang Mai Southeast Asian Games
  • UAAP Season 58 men’s basketball (co-produced with Silverstar Sports)
  • Philippine Basketball League
  • NCAA Season 71 men’s basketball (albeit sparingly)

Of the five events, the coverage of the Philippine Basketball Association was PTV’s biggest asset. After all, the PBA was at its peak of popularity during the PTV years, with sellout crowds a regular occurrence at the ULTRA (later PhilSports Arena) and later on at the Cuneta Astrodome.

But in 1995, all that would change in the blink of an eye.

(The final two minutes of PTV-4’s PBA coverage on December 19, 1995.)

As it turned out, the 21st PBA season would be the last to air on Channel 4 for nearly a decade. That season saw a near-grandslam for the Sunkist Orange Juicers, in which they won the All-Filipino and Commissioner’s Cups, only to finish third in the Governors’ Cup won by the following season’s Grand Slam winners, the Alaska Milkmen.

At this point, the PBA’s popularity was fading, despite returning to the now-Smart Araneta Coliseum after nearly a decade away. Thus, after the conclusion of the 21st season, Vintage decided to move the PBA coverage from PTV to the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), where they would drastically change their coverage in hopes of attracting the masses.

PTV’s sports portfolio gradually declined in the years following the loss of PBA coverage (the PBA did return to the renamed National Broadcasting Network in a failed partnership with IBC-13 in 2002).  Massive operating losses, along with competition from cable networks, forced Channel 4 to let go of broadcast rights to leagues such as the UAAP, and events such as the SEA Games and the Olympics.

Even though PTV Sports remained active through their coverage of lesser-known events, it is clear that they’re no longer a force in sports coverage. Today, PTV’s programming is more akin to a non-profit public broadcasting network, where they produce programs with little or no commercial support.

While the PBA is currently enjoying renewed popularity with Sports5, the years with PTV-4 will always be remembered as the glory days of the league. And even after the PBA left PTV for other networks in 1995, Channel 4’s partnership with the league will never be forgotten.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Needs a Shorter Season

With 10 schools, the NCAA basketball season now runs from June to early November. The need for more game days and venues are a must to shorten the season.

The UAAP basketball season ended two weeks ago, but in the NCAA, the elimination round is still in progress. Already affected by the numerous weather and event postponements, the NCAA men’s basketball finals is now expected to be played in the month of November, which does have an adverse effect on the scheduling of the Philippine Collegiate Basketball League preliminaries. So what does the NCAA have to do in order to prevent this from happening again? Here are the three things I want to see.

1. More games during the week

Currently the NCAA basketball games are played every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. However, since the league now has 10 schools, a double-round elimination tends to be much longer. In order to make the elimination tournament shorter, the league must now play either four or five times a week; Tuesday and/or Friday games are an option. However, a majority of their games are being played at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan, and should the four or five-a-week approach be approved, the NCAA will find it hard to schedule most games there. Which leads to the next suggestion.

2. Venue Flexibility is a Must

Before the FilOil Flying V Arena opened, the NCAA used to play its games at either the Ninoy Aquino Stadium or the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila. Now they need these two venues more in order to play more games. Other options include the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, PhilSports Arena and Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, and the seldom-used Makati Coliseum in Makati. For big games involving the top teams, the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum is a worthy option.

3. TV5 Must Agree to the Proposal

More games mean busy schedules for the Sports5 production crew. TV5 has to agree to the additional workload of games in order to make it happen. In addition, the NCAA needs to go back to the 2 p.m. start time for seniors doubleheaders, in order to accommodate the PBA games on most days. AksyonTV and the main TV5 network should also share live coverage of the NCAA, with a select number of games also airing live on the cable network HYPER.

With the greater amount of schools to commit, the NCAA needs the above proposals in order to finish their season quickly than at the current pace they’re in. And this new approach should enable the organizers of the PCCL to plan ahead for the qualifying rounds at various cities in the Philippines.

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