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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Philippines, Sports, television

ABL to Air on ABS-CBN S+A Starting This Week

Games of the Alab Pilipinas team will now air on ABS-CBN S+A, thanks to a new deal that gave the latter the broadcast rights to the Asean Basketball League. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Games of the Alab Pilipinas team will now air on ABS-CBN S+A, thanks to a new deal that gave the latter the broadcast rights to the ASEAN Basketball League. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Add the ASEAN Basketball League to ABS-CBN Sports’ growing portfolio.

Beginning this Sunday, November 27, games of the upcoming ABL season will air on S+A channel 23 and on ABS-CBN Sports’ official website. The broadcasts will include all home games of the Alab Pilipinas team, as well as a select number of contests.

The ASEAN Basketball League will enter its seventh season of operation. While the league traditionally consists of teams based in Southeast Asian countries, two East Asia-based clubs will join the ABL this season.

The two clubs in question are the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions and the Kaohsiung Truth. They will join the aforementioned Alab Pilipinas club, along with holdovers Saigon Heat, Westports Malaysia Dragons and the Singapore Slingers.

The history of the ABL in the Philippines has been influential and controversial, with one season featuring no Filipino representative. Twice a Filipino club won the ABL championship (2009-10 Philippine Patriots and 2013 San Miguel Beermen), while one other team (2015-16 Pilipinas MX3 Kings) managed to survive only one season due to mismanagement.

The league also saw some Filipino and Fil-foreign players suit up as imports for other teams, mainly to influence and guide local talent. And last season, current Phoenix Fuel Masters head coach Ariel Vanguardia won the ABL championship with the Westports Malaysia Dragons.

Despite that, the ABL remains a league that is not necessarily known to the average Filipino. Local television coverage of the league has been spotty, with networks such as ESPN Star Sports (later FOX Sports Asia), PTV-4, TV5 and Solar Sports providing only a season’s worth of ABL broadcasts.

That said, the deal with ABS-CBN Sports should give the ABL even greater exposure than before. With the former’s vast broadcast range and up-to-date facilities, it should help the ABL reach out further to every Filipino household.

Let’s just hope that the relationship between the ABL and ABS-CBN Sports will last longer than one season, provided that the Philippines will continue its representation. As for Alab Pilipinas, good luck.

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