entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

A Filipino Viewer’s Guide to the 2018 NBA Finals

Cavs and Warriors, again.

An unprecedented fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals awaits the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. On one side, the Warriors look to seal their status as a modern-day dynasty, while on the other, the Cavaliers attempt to once again even this long-running saga.

For this year, Filipino viewers will have three different options to watch the NBA Finals. Here are the following ways to experience the Finals.

ABS-CBN Sports

Both ABS-CBN Channel 2 and S+A will simultaneously air the NBA Finals live. Viewers on Channel 2 will hear Filipino commentary hosted by Boom Gonzalez, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras, while S+A will use English commentary from ESPN in the U.S., anchored by Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Doris Burke.

Much like more recent NBA Finals broadcasts, Channel 2’s Filipino commentators will call the games straight from the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City. In addition, TJ Manotoc will file reports on-site on news regarding the championship series.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium

The NBA Finals will also be delivered live on Basketball TV and NBA Premium, with both channels using English commentary from ESPN. In addition, BTV and NBA Premium will air extensive pre-game, post-game and off-day coverage of the Finals via NBA TV.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium are currently exclusive to Cignal and Cablelink subscribers only. The two channels are also available on digital TV via the EasyTV digibox (P2999 for purchase and P999 for renewal of subscription), but only for Metro Manila residents.

NBA League Pass

Basketball fans on the go can also watch the NBA Finals on their mobile devices via NBA League Pass. NBALP can be accessed via the NBA Game Time App on Google Play or Apple Store.

For more information on NBA League Pass, visit the NBA official website. For a step-by-step guide on subscribing to NBA League Pass, click the following links for Globe, Smart, PLDT and SkyCable subscribers.

If the last three meetings were of any indication, then expect another compelling battle between the Warriors and Cavs. Still, it remains to be seen if LeBron James will be able to sustain his seemingly one-man act against a deeper and stronger Warriors squad that has won two of the first three championship series.

Either way, NBA fans are in for a treat. Good luck.

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In 100 Words: iWant TV Now Available to Smart, PLDT Subscribers

ABS-CBN’s iWant TV video on demand service continues to grow.

Just recently, the Lopez-owned media giant joined forces with Manny V. Pangilinan’s PLDT and Smart Communications for a game-changing agreement. Beginning in October, PLDT and Smart subscribers can now watch ABS-CBN shows anytime and anywhere through the iWant TV service.

Shows that air on ABS-CBN and its sister channels (e.g. S+A, ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo) are readily available on iWant TV. However, not all shows are free to watch, as some will still require an assigned fee to access.

Regardless, this is just another step in the right direction for ABS-CBN. As the network’s push for a more digital approach continues, one must wonder how will its competitors respond with this move.

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Evaluating the First Month of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports V.2

The NCAA’s return to ABS-CBN Sports has been a good one so far. (Logo courtesy of the NCAA)

The second incarnation of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now a month old.

The oldest collegiate league in the country returned to ABS-CBN Sports in hopes of getting back on track. So far, though, viewers were treated to a slightly similar broadcast approach as the one that Sports5 previously handled, with a few differences of course.

Here’s a look at how ABS-CBN was able to make their mark on the league so far.

Use of Taglish

Unexpectedly, the network decided to use Taglish while calling the games. In their first run from 2002-12, ABS-CBN Sports announcers called the NCAA games in English, but with Sports+Action increasingly attracting a mass audience, the use of Taglish was necessitated.

This was the same approach that TV5 used when they covered the NCAA, but unfortunately for them, they failed to catch on for various reasons.

Emphasis on Social Media

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports also tapped in a new market called social media. Throughout each game, tweets and Instagram posts from players, fans and even basketball enthusiasts are read by the announcers in relation to the game at hand, with an official hashtag to boot.

They even allow announcers to take pre-game selfies (a novel practice in sports broadcasting), which are then posted to their individual Instagram accounts. And for the curious viewers, graphics of the announcers’ names now include their Twitter and/or Instagram accounts.

New Announcers

Speaking of announcers, ABS-CBN Sports employed a mix of young and experienced broadcasters to the NCAA game. Anton Roxas and Andrei Felix were carried over from the original incarnation, while Boom Labrusca, who also doubles as a courtside reporter, is a neophyte to the play-by-play profession.

Unlike TV5 which used former professional players as analysts, ABS-CBN hired mostly former collegiate standouts in order to relate better with the college game. The network has used Mikee Reyes, Migs Bustos, Martin Antonio and Olsen Racela to analyze the games, with Racela having also worked with the Sports5 crew in the past.

Familiar and Not-So Familiar Courtside Reporters

Those who have watched the NCAA so far may notice some familiar and unsuspecting faces to the courtside reporter spot. Before the season began, ABS-CBN Sports announced that cosplayer, Hero TV jock and former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ housemate Myrtle Sarrosa would be one of the courtside reporters for the season.

Since then, Myrtle was joined by the aforementioned Boom Labrusca, followed by Ceej Tantengco and Rox Montealegre. Quite a familiar bunch, but one with little experience to the world of sports.

The ABS-CBN Sports courtside reporters have three different responsibilities:

  1. To report on the teams’ strategies,
  2. To interview a player’s family members and friends, school alumni, students or fans, and
  3. To interview players and coaches during pregame and postgame (if applicable)

The said strategy is similar to what TV5 employed, but with less on-cam time.

Halftime Presentations

Halftime of each game usually consists of a brief glimpse of a school’s cheering exhibition, followed by a special feature and an analysis of the first half. For the viewers who had enough of TV5’s radical changes (e.g. Moneyball), this is a welcome development to bring back the intended mission of the NCAA: to promote loyalty, camaraderie and school spirit.

HD Broadcasts and Return of Smart and PLDT

In a surprise move, ABS-CBN welcomed Smart and PLDT as sponsors. The two telecommunications outfits are a sister company of ABS-CBN’s competitor TV5, which is a stunning move to say the least.

And finally, the NCAA games are now broadcast in its full 16:9 HD glory. While ABS-CBN Sports was the first to broadcast an event in HD, they did not fully take advantage of the new technology until this year.

So far, it’s been a beneficial first month of NCAA coverage. And while some would disagree with these moves, ABS-CBN is clearly intent on taking serious steps to make the NCAA more appealing to the masses.

The season is still a long way to go, but from the looks of it, the NCAA has found a perfect partner to thrive with. With a few tweaks, expect this partnership to last a lot longer.

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In 150 Words: Goodbye American Idol

Season 15 will be the last for ‘American Idol’.

FOX announced its cancellation during the week of ‘American Idol”s 14th season finale, citing declining ratings, competition with similar programs such as ‘The Voice’ and falling record sales for recent AI alumni. ‘American Idol”s final season will commence in January 2016.

Debuting in 2002, ‘American Idol’ quickly became one of America’s most-watched programs, ranking atop the ratings for several years and averaging 30 million viewers at its peak. The show became a launchpad for singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.

For Filipino viewers, AI was credited for introducing Filipino-Americans such as Jasmine Trias and Jessica Sanchez to the national consciousness. Sanchez, the runner-up to Phillip Phillips in Season 11, even earned an endorsement deal with Bench and Smart Communications.

‘American Idol’ currently airs in the Philippines on ETC (via satellite) and Star World (within hours of original American broadcast). The show previously aired on ABC-5 and QTV/GMA News TV on free TV.

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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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