online, Philippines, Sports, television

PVL Returns to S+A After Controversial Livestream Issue

ABS-CBN has finally heeded the call of disgruntled PVL fans.

It was announced earlier this week that ABS-CBN Sports would air weekend Premier Volleyball League games on S+A in addition to the standard livestream broadcasts online. This came after last weekend’s livestream of the PVL on Tour in Tuguegarao was plagued with technical difficulties that led to many complaints from volleyball fans on social media.

Despite the good news, Wednesday PVL matches will remain exclusive to livestream while S+A will continue to reair UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball games. The full televised slate will only arrive once the semifinals and finals roll around.

The first televised PVL matches since opening day two weeks ago was the second stop of the PVL on Tour, this time in Batangas. Unlike last weekend in Tuguegarao where only four teams saw action, all eight teams, including Batangas native Alyssa Valdez’s Creamline Cool Smashers, participated in the provincial meet.

The next few weekends in the PVL Reinforced Conference schedule will take place in yet-to-be-determined venues. That said, there is a possibility that these matches will remain part of the PVL on Tour series, with the announcement to take place within the next several days.

Despite a partial television schedule, volleyball fans should feel more than satisfied with the response that ABS-CBN Sports gave to them. After all, the PVL has suffered long enough that the need to air more games on television will be key towards restoring the league’s credibility.

Because when the PVL has crowd drawers like Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao, chances are the league will thrive if only they are given the proper exposure and treatment by its broadcast partner. So far, however, the PVL had been on the wrong end of ABS-CBN Sports’ stick, being drowned out by reruns of last season’s UAAP women’s volleyball matches.

To their credit, ABS-CBN Sports listened to its viewers for the sake of the PVL broadcasts, which is a good thing. Now it will be up to them to keep the dice rolling.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Ruining the PVL: ABS-CBN’s Coverage Setup Leaves Fans Angry

It was more of the same result.

The second season of the Premier Volleyball League picked up from where the first season left off, with ABS-CBN Sports airing only a few select games on S+A while leaving the rest of the schedule to livestream. After only a week, however, fans have had enough and voiced their negative sentiments on social media.

This past weekend, the PVL held its games in Tuguegarao featuring Pocari-Air Force Lady Warriors, PayMaya High Flyers, Creamline Cool Smashers and BanKo Perlas. While the four games involving the four teams were compelling and exciting for the fans in attendance, those who watched the game online were dissatisfied over the broadcast.

Saturday’s Pocari-Air Force vs. PayMaya and Creamline vs. Banko livestreams encountered numerous delays and power interruptions that left volleyball fans seething with anger. In response, ABS-CBN Sports Production head Vince Rodriguez explained the motive behind the setup before ending with a seemingly positive remark.

Emphasis on the word ‘discussing’ because for the time being games of the PVL will still be aired only on livestream while talks for more TV coverage are in progress. Case in point: the matches that will take place later today.

As for the schedule on S+A, the network will broadcast a replay of UAAP women’s volleyball as it was the case last weekend. Talk about not moving on.

Suffice to say, the PVL is back to a familiar situation when they were still known as the Shakey’s V-League, in which it encountered TV coverage issues. ABS-CBN Sports was supposed to be the league’s savior when it arrived three years ago, but instead of making the league more exposed to the public, it only worsened its perception among volleyball fans.

Yes the league is proud to have Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao as its standard-bearers, but unless ABS-CBN Sports does something drastic to appease its fans, the PVL will fall behind the shadows of its younger but emerging rival in the Philippine SuperLiga. The time is definitely now for ABS-CBN to take the PVL very seriously and stop pretending to be its pauper.

If this promise is not fulfilled, it might be high time for volleyball fans to switch to the PSL instead, where television and livestream coverage are limitless. Your call, ABS-CBN Sports.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Postmortem: UAAP Season 80 on ABS-CBN S+A

Another UAAP season has closed.

For the most part, UAAP Season 80 was a success. Some new champions were crowned and a few reigning titleholders were able to defend their gold, while new stars emerged and others bowed out.

As for the coverage on ABS-CBN S+A, there were some hits and misses as well. Here is a look back at what the network was able to do in Season 80.

New Upfront

The third season of ‘UAAP Upfront’ eschewed the live pregame presentation in favor of a straight-up lifestyle program dedicated to showcasing the lives of UAAP athletes away from their respective sports. It also aired exclusively during weekends, which helped mitigate whatever production costs S+A endures during live broadcasts.

UAAP Insiders

During the men’s basketball season, S+A added an extra on-air talent known as a UAAP Insider, featuring former courtside reporters Ganiel Krishnan, Angelique Manto, Ira Pablo and Pauline Versoza. Unfortunately, the addition of a UAAP Insider cut some exposure away from the new batch of courtside reporters, and this role was eventually cut prior to the women’s volleyball tournament.

Courtside Reporters

This season’s batch featured no holdovers and the first to feature men since Season 74. However, Adamson representative Nicole Sumagui was dismissed for poor performance and was replaced by predecessor Stef Monce for the rest of the men’s basketball tournament, and Armand Hernandez during the women’s volleyball tournament.

This year’s cast also featured Martie Bautista (Ateneo), Eileen Shi (La Salle), Sydney Crespo (FEU), Miguel Dypiangco (NU), Migs Gomez (UE), Agatha Uvero (UP) and Tonie Moreno (UST). Performance-wise it was satisfactory, but if not for the UAAP Insiders their potential would have been unleashed further.

The Entry of LIGA

Late January saw the launch of LIGA, the new cable channel of ABS-CBN’s Creative Programs Inc. This enabled ABS-CBN Sports to go deeper into UAAP live coverage as it aired the first game of men’s volleyball doubleheaders (plus second game of Sunday doubleheaders) as well as the finals of the softball and baseball tournaments.

Lack of First Semester Coverage

But while the second semester UAAP tournaments were extensively covered by ABS-CBN Sports, the first semester tournaments still leave a lot to be desired. The most noteworthy omission is women’s basketball, which for the most part played on the same day as their men’s basketball counterparts, yet only the finals were aired on S+A.

With the entry of LIGA, perhaps the time is now for the UAAP women’s basketball tournament to be taken seriously. Your call, ABS-CBN.

Overall, UAAP Season 80 broadcasts was good, but still not great. Yes, the slogan for the season was ‘Go for Great’, but in terms of coverage, it was still not above standard as any UAAP fan would want.

With Season 81 taking place in a few months’ time, there are still some kinks with which ABS-CBN Sports must address. That said, it will be interesting to see how the network will change its approach come next season.

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Philippines, Sports, television

When UAAP Courtside Reporting Is Not a Safe Bet

It is not easy to be a courtside reporter.

After all, it is considered one of the most highly scrutinized positions in the world of sports broadcasting. The best people on the job are those who can relate well to the audience, speak clearly and articulately, and exude confidence whenever possible.

In ABS-CBN Sports’ coverage of the UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, a courtside reporter is hired not because he/she is pretty or handsome, but because the network wants them to represent the school with both enthusiasm and pride. Unfortunately, there are those who were simply not up to the task.

Last Saturday, ABS-CBN quietly replaced Nicole Sumagui with Stef Monce as Adamson University’s courtside reporter. No explanation was made regarding the change, but observant viewers saw that Sumagui stuttered at times, was tentative and lacked confidence in her abilities.

Sumagui was not the first courtside reporter to get the pink slip early in the season. There have been two such cases in which a UAAP courtside reporter was replaced before the season concluded.

Prior to UAAP Season 73 (2010-11), ABS-CBN assigned Karen Rozul to be the courtside reporter of National University. But the network replaced her with the late Maan Panganiban when they realized that Rozul was not confident enough for the job.

Two seasons later, NU endured some deja vu when the ineffective Muriel Orais was dismissed in favor of Steph Sy. Sy, like Stef Monce later on, had already exhausted her two-year eligibility, but ABS-CBN reinstated her for a third year due to this untimely circumstance.

For all the talk about the next Pia Arcangel, Lia Cruz, Riki Flores, Aaron Atayde, Nikko Ramos and Laura Lehmann, there are those like Karen Rozul, Muriel Orais and Nicole Sumagui who do not deserve to be in the same room. They may have survived the auditions, yet they failed to translate that into at least one year’s worth of on-the-job training for a future broadcasting career.

UAAP courtside reporting is not an easy task, but if one can survive and fulfill a dream, then it should bode well for their future career paths.  With the second round of men’s basketball plus a full slate of women’s volleyball still to come, all eyes are on the seven rookies and one returnee to see if they have what it takes to be a great UAAP courtside reporter.

Note: Aside from Stef Monce, this season’s roster of UAAP courtside reporters consist of Martie Bautista (Ateneo de Manila University), Eileen Shi (De La Salle University), Sydney Crespo (Far Eastern University), Miguel Dypiangco (National University), Migs Gomez (University of the East), Agatha Uvero (University of the Philippines) and Tonie Moreno (University of Sto. Tomas).

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Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on ABS-CBN Sports’ Changes to UAAP Men’s Basketball Coverage

Not great enough: ABS-CBN Sports’ changes on the UAAP men’s basketball coverage drew mixed opinions from viewers. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

Too long, too many.

That was the criticism of some viewers when ABS-CBN Sports began its coverage of UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball. Despite its promise to ‘go for great’, the new-look coverage hasn’t so far lived up to the greatness that ABS-CBN Sports envisioned.

For the first two weeks of UAAP men’s basketball, ABS-CBN added two TV timeouts from the first to third quarters. Those TV timeouts do not count as far as team timeouts were concerned, but despite its intent to rake in more sponsorship money, viewers were not happy with it as these timeouts only lengthen the duration of a game.

In response to viewer backlash, ABS-CBN decided to restrict themselves to only one TV timeout each during the first, second and third quarters. The reduction did not affect the overall game play however, as UAAP men’s basketball games continue to last at an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes per game, which is almost equal to a typical PBA game broadcast.

Another change that ABS-CBN implemented is the concept of the ‘UAAP Insider’. Former courtside reporters Ganiel Krishnan, Angelique Manto, Ira Pablo and Pauline Versoza were promoted to this position, and their responsibility as insiders is to help the announcers preview an upcoming game and interview coaches during halftime.

The addition of the UAAP Insider now brings the overall total of ABS-CBN’s on-air team to five (not including floor directors, cameramen and other behind-the-scenes staff). Unfortunately, these on-air talents receive fewer minutes of airtime compared to a typical courtside reporter, so it remains to be seen how ABS-CBN Sports will treat this new position well.

The pregame show ‘Upfront at the UAAP’ also received a makeover heading into the new season. The program is no longer aired live; instead it takes on a magazine show format that only airs before weekend UAAP men’s basketball games.

The current hosts of ‘Upfront at the UAAP’ are Janeena Chan, Arturo Daza, Martin Javier and Angelique Manto. Of the four, Janeena is the lone holdover from the first season of the program.

Speaking of ‘Upfront at the UAAP’, one of its former hosts has a new role on cam. Former women’s basketball standout Bea Daez was promoted to full-time analyst, and while this is not the first time that a woman will cover a men’s basketball game in the Philippines (Patricia Hizon once called PBA games during its time with Solar Entertainment), it was still a remarkable barrier-breaking achievement.

So far, so good, but not great enough. Notwithstanding these minor hiccups, ABS-CBN Sports has plenty of time to make things up, so let’s see how they will be able to make the UAAP men’s basketball coverage into something that is ‘great’.

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