Philippines, Sports, television

Is UAAP Women’s Basketball Being Slighted by ABS-CBN Sports?

UAAP Season 81 is well underway.

But while the men’s basketball tournament always gets the attention of ABS-CBN Sports due to its popularity and appeal (that along with the eight courtside reporters for the season), the same cannot be said of the women’s side. There are three factors as to why UAAP women’s basketball tends to get an unfair treatment from ABS-CBN and sports fans in particular.

Lack of Popular Appeal

For the most part, women’s basketball has never been popular in the Philippines. Part of it was due to the absence of a legitimate women’s basketball league and a still-overlying perception that only men can play ball.

UAAP women’s basketball, in particular, only attracts around hundreds, if not less, fans in each game. Which leads to the second factor.

Disparity in Scheduling

Unlike men’s volleyball which is always scheduled before women’s volleyball matches, UAAP women’s basketball schedules always vary in terms of dates and venues. For example, here is the schedule for first round of Season 81.

Looking at the schedule closely, there are three playdates of at least three games that will be held at either the Blue Eagle Gym or the FilOil Flying V Centre. The rest are scheduled on the same day as the men’s basketball games at either the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The fact of the matter is, basketball remains a more popular sport than volleyball and the UAAP usually places the former sport for men in big venues because of its immense appeal. It would be tough for women’s basketball games to be scheduled on the same venue and on the same day as the men especially when popular rivalries such as Ateneo-La Salle come into play.

Loaded Schedule for ABS-CBN Sports

This September alone ABS-CBN Sports has an extremely busy schedule to attend to. In addition to UAAP men’s basketball, the network also covers the NCAA seniors’ basketball, the MPBL and the PVL among others.

ABS-CBN is also expected to air the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season next month. That said, with so many commitments left and right, the network has no room to cover UAAP women’s basketball on television and can only settle for live coverage of the finals come December (but at least it still airs the WNBA as part of its contract with the NBA).

It remains to be seen if ABS-CBN Sports will be willing to change its perception towards the UAAP women’s basketball tournament. For now, though, women’s basketball in the Philippines is a painful work in progress and it desperately needs the public’s help.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on the MPBL on ABS-CBN S+A

A new Filipino basketball league is about to take off.

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao and his business manager Arnold Vegafria, will officially launch later tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The league’s maiden event will begin with an elaborate opening ceremony and a game between the Parañaque Patriots and Caloocan Supremos.

The league’s premise is simple: it consists of 10 teams located around Metro Manila and Luzon (with expansion to Visayas and Mindanao to follow soon) and it also aims to give grassroots athletes and aspiring basketball players a chance to showcase their skills and continue their basketball careers. These 10 teams are as follows:

  1. Parañaque Patriots
  2. Caloocan Supremos
  3. Batangas City Athletics
  4. Valenzuela Classic
  5. Navotas Clutch
  6. Muntinlupa Cagers
  7. Bataan Defenders
  8. Bulacan Kuyas
  9. Imus MPBL team
  10. Quezon City MPBL team

A home-and-away format will be followed so that teams can have a chance to play on their home court in front of their fans. In essence, the MPBL is a developmental league that is more similar to the NBA G League and is inspired from the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).

Let’s face it, the Philippines deserves another basketball league and something had to be done about the surplus of talent. Every basketball player dreams of making it to the PBA but what if there is little to no chance of earning a slot?

Also, what if basketball fans does not have the courage or the resources to watch a basketball game in faraway or big venues? This is exactly what the MPBL does: propagate the game of basketball closer to the fan while giving some undeserved talents a chance to prove their worth.

Not only that, the MPBL will get some much-needed exposure on national television via S+A, the sports channel of ABS-CBN. The said channel’s strong reach should benefit the MPBL a lot as it tries to gain the respect of Filipino basketball diehards.

It will be interesting to see how far this upstart league go. But for those who are worried that the MPBL could pose a threat to the PBA, don’t fret because they are only concerned about giving players opportunities while extending the careers of others.

Games of the MPBL will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. It will be aired on ABS-CBN’s S+A channel.

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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

PBA, UAAP to Face Off Starting Sunday

The PBA Philippine Cup begins this Sunday, with the San Miguel Beermen trying to defend the crown. The early games of the tournament will go head-to-head with the ongoing UAAP men’s basketball eliminations. (Photo credit: Businessworld)

The PBA and the UAAP will cross paths on the small screen once more.

For the first time, the opening day of the PBA Philippine Cup will take place while the UAAP men’s basketball eliminations are still ongoing. This was made possible by the latter’s most recent calendar change.

Previously, the UAAP men’s basketball tournament was played from July to October. But with most member schools adjusting their calendar to be at par with other foreign institutions, the UAAP decided to move its season opening to September, and with it rescheduled the basketball season from September to November.

This means that the elimination round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament will now have to compete with the PBA Philippine Cup once the latter opens in October*. Both leagues primarily play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena; thus, they need to agree in advance on the availability of both venues.

Sunday’s PBA Philippine Cup opener at the Big Dome will feature the customary opening ceremony, followed by a game between the Star Hotshots and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. On the same day, the UAAP will hold a men’s basketball twinbill at MOA, pitting UE and UP, and La Salle and FEU.

The PBA games will be aired on TV5, AksyonTV and Sports5.PH, with a radio broadcast on Radyo5 stations. The UAAP games are currently seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 195, iWanTV and ABS-CBN Sports official website.

* The UAAP men’s basketball games previously took place alongside PBA import-laden tournaments (e.g. Fiesta Conference, Governors’ Cup).

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live events, Philippines, Sports, television

A Short Overview of UAAP Season 78

UAAP Season 78 opens this weekend with the opening ceremonies and four men’s basketball games in two venues featuring all eight schools. (Photo credit: PhilStar.com)

A new era in the UAAP gets underway.

UAAP Season 78 begins tomorrow afternoon with the customary opening ceremonies at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, followed by the UP-UE and Adamson-UST men’s basketball matchups. It will be followed by another doubleheader this Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena, featuring the La Salle-NU and Ateneo-FEU matchups.

This will be the 16th season of UAAP coverage on the ABS-CBN family of networks*, and the first in the new September-May calendar. After signing another five-year deal, ABS-CBN Sports expects an even wider multi-platform coverage of UAAP events, as they continue to capitalize on its rising popularity.

For more information on the participating schools, courtside reporters and announcers, visit the official ABS-CBN Sports website by clicking this link, and also visit their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

(*) Games will be aired on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 167, Balls SD 34, iWanTV, and ABS-CBN Mobile. Finals of the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball events are expected to air on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on a weekend.

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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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