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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Philippines, Sports, television

With NCAA Out, TV5 Focuses on International Multi-Sport Events

Coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games will be held exclusively by Sports5. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The loss of NCAA rights did not stop TV5 from pursuing other sporting events.

Starting today, TV5’s family of channels will have a live and exclusive coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The SEA Games will be aired on three different platforms: VHF channel TV5, UHF channel AksyonTV 41 and livestreaming site Sports5.ph.

A majority of the coverage will be dedicated to the Philippine national teams, with major focus on the country’s basketball, volleyball and football teams. Sports5 will also provide highlights to the country’s other teams, such as athletics, boxing and swimming.

While the opening ceremonies will take place on June 5, preliminaries of events such as football, netball and table tennis will get underway today. Both the opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Singapore National Stadium, which will also host the athletics and football events.

In the previous SEA Games at Myanmar two years ago, the Philippines endured its worst performance of the event, finishing a paltry seventh in the medal round. Much of the blame is centered on Myanmar’s inclusion of indigenous sports in lieu of other well-known disciplines, forcing the country to send a smaller-than-expected delegation.

The poor performance of the country was further justified by the lack of extensive coverage by previous coveror ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23), who only covered basketball, football and boxing. The reluctance and eventual unwillingness of ABS-CBN Sports to extensively cover the event marked the low point of the SEA Games on Philippine television.

With ABS-CBN Sports now focusing more on college sports such as the UAAP and the recently-acquired NCAA, TV5 decided to further its portfolio towards international multi-sporting events. And the SEA Games became their latest coup.

The acquisition of the SEA Games, along with prior additions such as the Olympics and the Asian Games, gave Sports5 the three most important events in the calendar of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Not since the early 2000s had the rights to these three events belonged to one network.

That said, it is now up to TV5 to bring back a sense of pride and honor to the Filipino athlete. This year’s SEA Games should be a proving ground for the Philippines to regain its place among Southeast Asia’s best.

The 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore will be held from June 5-16.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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