Philippines, Sports, television, United States

NCAA March Madness Belatedly Returns to Solar Sports, BTV

There will be US NCAA March Madness in the Philippines after all.

This weekend, Solar Sports and Basketball TV will join forces to cover Sunday’s Final Four and Tuesday’s National Championship of the US NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Sunday’s games are as follows:

  • Villanova vs. Oklahoma (6:00 a.m. live on Solar Sports and Basketball TV)
  • Syracuse vs. North Carolina (8:45 a.m. live on Solar Sports and 10:30 a.m. delayed broadcast on Basketball TV)

The winners of the above games will face off in Tuesday’s National Championship. It will take place at 8:00 a.m. live on Solar Sports and Basketball TV.

This marks the return of the NCAA tournament to the Solar networks for the first time since 2013. Unfortunately, the return of March Madness to Solar was somewhat belated, due to a lack of interest from various networks.

Sports5, the rightsholder of the last two US NCAA March Madness tournaments, decided to back out owing to cost-cutting measures and the yearly observance of Holy Week. Fox Sports Philippines, who covers conference college tournaments, also did not express interest, and neither did ABS-CBN Sports due to its focus on the UAAP.

With no other options, Solar Sports decided to step in, but their involvement came way too late. As a result, they missed out covering the preliminaries, from the First Four to the Elite Eight.

Still, as far as Solar is concerned, it’s better late than never. After all, March Madness is considered a must-watch event, even if a few Filipinos religiously follow the tournament.

It remains to be seen whether or not Solar will be willing to cover another year or two of March Madness. But hopefully, once they express interest again, the coverage won’t be just the Final Four and the National Championship, but also the First Four, the rounds of 64 and 32, the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight, for the full March Madness experience.

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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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, Sports, television

UAAP Cheerdance Expected To Be Overshadowed by AlDub-Pastillas Battle

The NU Cheering Squad will try to win their third consecutive title in tomorrow’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The beginning of the event will be up against the highly-trended AlDub and Pastillas Girl skits. (Photo credit: GMA News)

The ever-popular UAAP Cheerdance Competition will now face some tough odds this year.

The 22nd edition of the event will now be held in the middle of the men’s basketball tournament, unlike in previous years where it was held at its conclusion. In addition, the event will be held on a Saturday, as opposed to Sundays in past editions.

This means that the Cheerdance Competition will now have to take place on a day when some member schools still hold classes. But that’s not the only problem the event will face.

The early portion of the Cheerdance Competition will take place while noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Eat Bulaga’ are still ongoing.  The highly-trending Pastillas Girl and AlDub skits are expected to make life tough for viewers of this year’s Cheerdance Competition, especially considering the combined 37 million tweets of both skits last Saturday.

This does not mean that this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition will no longer be a juggernaut for netizens everywhere. With the help of a livestreaming service provided by ABS-CBN, there is still a possibility that the event would end up in Twitter’s trending topics.

After all, whenever the Cheerdance Competition takes place, there are four things that the viewers will always point out in this event:

  • courtside reporters in cheering attire
  • elaborate props and risky maneuvers
  • a beautiful guest host
  • suspense and uncertainty of announcing the top three finishers

That said, a good challenge awaits the UAAP Cheerdance Competition this year. More than the performance of the eight cheering squads, the event is about making an impact amid all the odds stacked against it.

The 2015 UAAP Cheerdance Competition will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena. It will air on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 195, iWanTV and ABS-CBN Sports official website beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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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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live events, Philippines, Sports, television

Another Five Years for the UAAP on ABS-CBN Sports

Record crowds like last October’s NU-FEU UAAP men’s basketball title match were a key reason why the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports decided to renew their existing broadcast deal. (Photo credit: ABS-CBNNews.com)

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

As expected, the UAAP decided to renew its existing broadcast rights deal with ABS-CBN Sports for another five years. The extended contract will begin starting Season 78 (2015-16) and will last through Season 82 (2019-20).

This will ensure that the partnership between the UAAP and ABS-CBN will reach its 20th year once it wraps up its newest contract, making it the longest tenured broadcast deal among the current sports leagues in the country.

The latest contract extension was not without any obstacles, however. Back in February, TV5’s sports division (Sports5) submitted a letter of intent to the UAAP board with regards to the league’s television broadcasts.

Sports5 would have been a great partner for the UAAP. Unfortunately, their poor handling of the NCAA broadcasts, not to mention the lack of extensive promotion and coverage in sports other than basketball, proved to be a hindrance that is too much to overcome.

The decision to renew the existing contract was based on the league’s recent spike in popularity. Leading the way are men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, which continues to be the focus of attention in ABS-CBN’s coverage.

True to form, both disciplines attracted record crowds during the past few years, especially during the championship series. In fact, in the last three title deciders in either men’s basketball or women’s volleyball, over 20,000 spectators packed both the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena.

Even more impressive was the fact that ABS-CBN Sports began to show weekly live coverage of men’s football and men’s volleyball via Balls HD 167, with the said sports continuing to air on tape-delay via ABS-CBN Sports+Action. As the new contract gets underway, expect an even more extensive coverage of other UAAP sports, in various platforms.

That said, the renewal of broadcast rights between the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports should only further the league’s increasing popularity. The UAAP may now be more popular than ever before, but without the help of ABS-CBN Sports, it may have never achieved the blockbuster success that it has enjoyed today.

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