live events, news, Philippines, Sports, television

The Last Home Stand That Never Was

The PLDT Last Home Stand was advertised as a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team, until a last-second announcement forced the players to engage in practice drills with the NBA selection. (Poster courtesy of the MVP Group of Companies)

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. However, it did not turn out as advertised.

Last night’s event, which involved the Gilas team and a contingent of NBA players led by All-Stars James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Damien Lillard, was turned into a practice drill. The announcement came after the NBA threatened its players with suspensions and fines if they played in an ‘unsanctioned’ match, or in Filipino terms, ‘ligang labas’.

The unfortunate turn of events did not sit well with fans, who paid as much as P23,000 just to watch a significant tuneup game. As a result, boos rained down the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with some fans demanding refunds for their tickets.

With the event taking a turn for the worse, PLDT executive vice president Ariel Fermin announced later that night that ticket refunds for disgruntled fans will be honored, but still reminded fans that the event was for the benefit of victims of Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. He even added that ‘there was no mention of a game’, but media outlets who promoted The Last Home Stand in advance said otherwise.

In the aftermath of the poorly-received event, PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan apologized to fans for the turnout of the event. He then said that PLDT will be responsible for the repercussions surrounding the event.

Despite the unexpected change of plans, TV5 still aired The PLDT Last Home Stand as scheduled. But with tonight’s events already cancelled, the usual filler programs featuring Tagalized movies will be aired instead.

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be the follow-up to the successful Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend in 2011. However, the latter event that also involved an NBA selection was held during an NBA lockout, in which player contracts were suspended while negotiations were ongoing.

All in all, it was a public relations nightmare for the MVP Group of Companies, particularly PLDT. The event was hyped for months, beginning with the PBA and NCAA games, and culminating with the appearance of NBA players on the noontime show ‘Eat Bulaga’ last Monday. But all that hype went down the drain as the NBA decided to get involved with the charity event.

In the end, it was harsh lesson learned by the MVP Group, something they will remember for years to come. Let’s just hope that the unfortunate aftermath of the event will in no way affect the FIBA World Cup preparations of Gilas Pilipinas.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

March Madness: Solar’s Loss is TV5’s Gain

Top-ranked pro prospect Andrew Wiggins and other college basketball stars will be in the spotlight as the US NCAA March Madness will air on TV5 and its affiliates.

This March, the US NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, more popularly known as ‘March Madness’, will be shown in the Philippines via the networks of TV5. The Kapatid network’s acquisition of March Madness gives the event some much-needed exposure on free TV, something that its previous coveror could not afford. But how did TV5 earn their ticket to ‘March Madness’?

For several years, coverage of March Madness was given to Solar Sports via its all-basketball channel Basketball TV. In addition to the NCAA tournament, the network also aired select regular season and postseason games from popular conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, and the Pacific-10 (later Pacific-12) Conference. However, when BTV did not air any US NCAA college games this year, the March Madness coverage in the country was put into question.

Looking back, there were some shortcomings to BTV’s coverage of March Madness, and of US NCAA basketball in general. Because the network’s primary focus is on the NBA, coverage of regular season college basketball was restricted to tape-delay broadcasts, unlike in Fox Sports Philippines (formerly ESPN) where it can air the games live. Then come March Madness, BTV would be forced to tape-delay NBA games and air a minimum of one game per round, alienating some rabid NBA fans and even college basketball viewers.

With mounting pressure from its viewers, Solar and Basketball TV had no choice but to finally drop the US NCAA college basketball from its lineup. It wasn’t until late February that Sports5 decided to step up, announcing that it has acquired the rights for the US NCAA March Madness. Its announcement came just as the 2014 Winter Olympics on the Kapatid network was about to finish.

Sports5’s coverage of the US NCAA March Madness include free TV broadcasts of select games on TV5 and AksyonTV 41, complementary live broadcasts on cable network Hyper and Cignal HD pay-per-view, and live streaming though PLDT’s broadband services. This means that more games will be offered in each platform, giving college basketball fans additional options to watch their favorite US NCAA schools run towards the championship.

Now that TV5 and its affiliates will have the rights to the US NCAA March Madness, the countdown to the most highly-anticipated college basketball tournament in the world is underway. And college basketball fans can’t wait to watch.

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drama, entertainment, movies, news, Philippines, Sports, television

TV5’s Busy February

TV5’s February highlight will be the historic first broadcast of the Winter Olympics, which will be held at Sochi, Russia this month.

The month of February will be TV5’s busiest month so far. And it does not include the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup playoffs and other current programs.

Yesterday morning, the Super Bowl was aired on the Kapatid network. The championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, along with the halftime performance of Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were a social media hit during and after the event. The game was carried by TV5 and sister stations AksyonTV and Hyper, and was also shown on PLDT’s Home Fibr TVolution subscription service.

TV5 will also present the Studio5 Original Movies this month. For its first offering tonight, Alice Dixson and Mark Neumann will join forces in ‘Lady Next Door’. Afterwards, the tandem ‘Guy and Pip’ (Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III) will reunite on the shortie ‘When I Fall in Love’, followed by Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Daniel Matsunaga in ‘The Replacement Bride’, before finishing the mini-series with ‘Bawat Sandali’, featuring an all-star cast consisting of Derek Ramsey, Angel Aquino, Yul Servo, Mylene Dizon, and Philip Salvador. Studio5 Original Movies air on each Tuesday of the month after ‘Madam Chairman’.

TV5 will also make history by airing the Winter Olympics for the first time. This year’s event will be in Sochi, Russia, and will attract over 2,500 athletes, including the lone Philippine representative in figure skater Michael Christian Martinez. The event will be held from February 8 to 24 (Manila time), and will be seen on TV5 and sister stations AksyonTV and Hyper. In addition, PLDT’s broadband internet service will bring extended coverage to the event.

TV5’s other major sports event for the month will be the ‘Ronda Pilipinas’. The event began last February 1, and highlights of the race will be seen on a daily basis until February 16. And finally, the NCAA volleyball tournament reaches its conclusion this week with the airing of the finals of the men’s and women’s event.

This is definitely one hectic month for TV5 management. Now if they can start sorting out the mess that is the programming schedules, then the viewers will be happy and interested.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, radio, Sports, television

Why is SM a Better Fit for GMA?

GMA should benefit more from Henry Sy and his SM chain of malls and condominiums.

GMA has been on the selling block for several months now. Several names crop up, such as Manny V. Pangilinan, owner of PLDT, Smart and TV5, and Ramon S. Ang, lead executive of San Miguel Corporation and shareholder of Philippine Airlines and Solar Entertainment. However, no one mentions Henry Sy of SM Group and his deep pockets.

For some reason, I looked forward to SM acquiring GMA. Why? Because Henry Sy is the richest man in the Philippines, and SM is an emerging conglomerate. SM, best known for its malls, has stepped up financially by building the Mall of Asia Arena and various high-rise condominiums, along with acquiring a stake in National University and revitalizing its athletics and educational program. By purchasing GMA from Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit, SM should help rebuild a slumping broadcast giant, which is already suffering due to poor ratings, critically panned programming choices, and declining revenue.

Both ABS-CBN and TV5 are owned by conglomerates, and because of that, they are able to expand beyond the usual entertainment fare. In order to be at par with the other two networks, GMA needs a bigger company to thrive, and SM Group should be a good fit. But for now, it’s only a dream.

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