Philippines, Sports, television

FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Air on ESPN5

The Philippines’ premier preseason tournament for college basketball has found a new home.

When the 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup kicks off on April 21, it will have a new television partner. For this season, ESPN5, via T5N and AksyonTV, will broadcast a select number of games plus the entirety of the playoffs.

Here is the game schedule of the upcoming FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup. All games will take place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

All seniors teams of the UAAP and NCAA will participate in the tournament. However, the biggest surprise came when the cadets of the Gilas Pilipinas national team announced that it will join the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, with each of its games to be treated as official matches and not mere exhibitions.

This will mark the first time that ESPN5 will cover live Philippine college basketball games since the rebrand last year. Prior to that, the then-Sports5 was home to the NCAA seniors basketball tournament from Seasons 88 to 90 (2012-15); this does not include the 2016 CESAFI which aired on AksyonTV but produced by VIVA.

It will also mark the return of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Philippine television for the first time since 2016. Last year none of its games were aired on television and were streamed live on Facebook instead.

While the games featuring the Gilas cadets will headline ESPN5’s coverage, it will also take a look at the legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that will have new recruits getting their first taste of this long-running saga. In addition, old NCAA rivalries between San Beda and La Salle, and Ateneo and San Beda, will also be aired.

As for non-televised games, these are expected to air on the FilOil Flying V Sports’ Facebook page. Highlights of these games will also be featured on SportsCenter Philippines.

The FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup will run from April 21 to June 24.

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news, Philippines, Sports, television

Dissecting the Filipino Sports News Landscape with Entry of SportsCenter Philippines

It has been an eventful month so far for sports news programs in the Philippines.

As of this week there are four weekday sports news programs that currently air on Philippine television. These include:

  1. The Score (ABS-CBN S+A) – anchored by TJ Manotoc
  2. Sports Desk (CNN Philippines) – morning edition anchored by Andrei Felix, evening editions anchored by Mico Halili
  3. Gametime (ABS-CBN News Channel) – anchored by Migs Bustos
  4. PTV Sports (People’s Television Network) – anchored by Dennis Principe, Meg Siozon, Angel Atienza and Arianne Mallare

On Sunday, December 17, a fifth program will emerge. As part of ESPN’s new deal with TV5, the network will officially premiere its version of ‘SportsCenter’, to be anchored by Aaron Atayde and Lia Cruz.

Before viewers can get excited about ‘SportsCenter Philippines’, here is a summary of how each current program brings to the table. These are ranked according to quality and depth.

Sports Desk

A holdover from Solar News Channel era, CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’ has by far the best content of sports news that is to offer. The program is not shy to tackle all the sports news that people should know, whether it is the UAAP, the PBA or even other local and international sports.

It also helps that it airs three times a day, at 11:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. However, with news of Mico Halili potentially departing CNN Philippines for perhaps a full-time role as a commentator with ABS-CBN Sports, can the show continue to deliver with regular substitute Paolo del Rosario?

PTV Sports

This program has been in and out of PTV-4’s lineup in recent years (remember Snow Badua?), but its latest iteration is simply a straight-up summary of the whole day’s worth of sports news. There are a few interviews here and there but other than that, they are more into quick bursts of reports.

However, as PTV-4 is a government station, there is a tendency for the program to be preempted whenever President Rodrigo Duterte makes an appearance on national television. Still, when the show does air, expect plenty of juice extracted in each report.

Gametime/The Score

Both shows are currently aired on ABS-CBN sister channels: ‘Gametime’ on ANC and ‘The Score’ on S+A. Unfortunately, they do not offer much in terms of sports news as they merely focus on sporting events currently handled by ABS-CBN Sports (e.g. UAAP, NCAA, NBA, ABL), not to mention they do not usually air live.

For those who seek a greater scope into sports news (albeit on a weekly basis), there is ‘Hardball’ on ANC and ‘Fastbreak’ on DZMM. It’s sad to say that both ‘Gametime’ and ‘The Score’ are a disappointment since ABS-CBN treated them like a showbiz news program that is biased towards a particular network’s artists.

So what expectations do people have for ‘SportsCenter Philippines’? For one, the show will premiere on a Sunday (a weekend no less) and it is assumed that the program will air seven days a week as opposed to a mere weekday airing that other shows do.

Also, with TV5 possibly rebranding into a full-on sports network as ESPN5, the network is expected to highlight ‘SportsCenter Philippines’ as its centerpiece program with all the sports news that people should know. That said, it will be interesting to see how this new player fares amid a crowd of sports-hungry fans.

Good luck to ESPN5. As for its competitors, there is no way to go but up.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Thoughts on U.S. NCAA College Basketball on ESPN5

ESPN5 will cover some of the U.S. NCAA intra and interconference games this season, and they will also air March Madness in March 2018. (Photo credit: National Collegiate Athletic Association)

The NBA may still be the most popular global basketball league for Filipinos, but ESPN5 is looking to change that perspective.

When TV5 and ESPN joined forces to establish ESPN5 last month, one of the things that they addressed is the lack of serious attention towards U.S. college basketball in the Philippines. While TV5 has been able to broadcast the March Madness portion of U.S. NCAA basketball in recent years, regular season coverage was only restricted to obscure networks such as All-Sports Network (now Sports Illustrated Asia).

That changed last Wednesday when ESPN5 began to air intra and inter-conference games of the U.S. NCAA Division I basketball season. Weekly doubleheaders are currently aired, live or delayed, starting at 8:00 a.m. on days where the NFL is not aired, and the frequency is expected to increase once the NFL season ends.

Even though the U.S. NCAA is expected to provide a boost to ESPN5, there are still some doubts as to whether or not this league will thrive among Filipino basketball fans. Here are some questions that may test the Filipino’s knowledge of the U.S. NCAA.

  1. Do they know some of these up-and-coming U.S. college basketball stars (e.g. Marvin Bagley)?
  2. Do they know top rivalries such as Duke vs. North Carolina and Kentucky vs. Louisville?
  3. Do they know the rules of the U.S. NCAA which is drastically different from the NBA and FIBA?
  4. Do they know each college and university’s nicknames, colors, cultures and traditions?
  5. Do they have the patience and time to even care about U.S. college basketball?

That said, it will not be easy for ESPN5 to promote U.S. NCAA basketball despite the Filipinos’ love of the game. Much like the NBA, the PBA and even local college hoops such as the UAAP and the NCAA, expect plenty of growing pains before the U.S. NCAA becomes embedded in every Filipino basketball fan.

But does ESPN5 have plenty of time and money to do so? Considering the limits of its licensing deal with TV5, not to mention the network’s poor reach, they really need all the time and power in the world to cultivate the U.S. NCAA into a part of Filipino basketball culture.

Oh well. In any case, let’s give ESPN5 the best of luck with the U.S. NCAA because it is going to be a rough ride ahead.

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entertainment, live events, Philippines, television

The Month of Beauty Pageants: Miss World on GMA, Miss Universe on ABS-CBN

It has been an eventful month for Filipinas in various beauty pageants.

The Miss Earth pageant, an event dominated by Filipinas of late, was won by Karen Ibasco. Then in the Reina Hispanoamericana, Winwyn Marquez provided the upset of the year by becoming the first Filipina to win the pageant in the country’s debut appearance.

In the Miss Globe pageant, Nelda Ibe finished first runner-up, while Elizabeth Clenci earned a second runner-up finish in the 2017 Miss Grand International. Unfortunately, Mariel de Leon failed to maintain the Philippines’ momentum in beauty pageants as she was eliminated in the preliminary rounds of the 2017 Miss International.

Nevertheless, the Philippines still has four more beauty pageants to participate before the year ends. Two of them will take place this month and both seem to be the most prestigious of them all.

This Saturday, November 18, the 2017 Miss World will take place in Sanya, China. The Philippines will be represented by Laura Lehmann, a former Binibining Pilipinas participant and UAAP courtside reporter.

The 2017 Miss World will be aired on GMA, albeit on a delayed basis. That said, spoiler alerts are expected to come in social media due to GMA’s loaded programming situation.

Then on November 27, the Miss Universe pageant will take place in Las Vegas. Representing the Philippines will be Rachel Peters, a Filipina-British beauty.

ABS-CBN and FOXlife will share the exclusive Philippine rights to the 2017 Miss Universe. The said pageant will broadcast live at around 8:00 a.m.

Rounding up the 2017 beauty pageant season are the Miss Supranational and the Miss Intercontinental pageants. Chanel Thomas and Katarina Rodriguez will represent the country in their respective pageants, which will take place on December 1 and December 21.

Neither pageant will be aired on television, however. Nevertheless, expect the two representatives to exude the same pride and determination that this month’s achievers accomplished.

Looking ahead to the Miss World and Miss Universe, it will be interesting to see how Laura Lehmann and Rachel Peters fare in their respective pageants. With all the momentum in the Philippines’ favor, one can only hope that the two will have what it takes to bag another crown for the country.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Despite Airing March Madness, US NCAA Remains Out of BTV’s Equation

Creighton star Kobe Paras may be making his presence felt in the U.S. NCAA, but the league's lack of popularity in his home country continues to be a problem. (Photo credit: Fox Sports Asia)

Creighton star Kobe Paras may be making waves in the U.S. NCAA, but the league’s lack of popularity in his home country continues to be a problem. (Photo credit: Fox Sports Asia)

It is obvious that U.S. college basketball will never get the respect it deserves from Filipino hoop fans.

Such is the case for the U.S. NCAA men’s basketball tournament. While top conference tournaments such as the ACC, PAC-12 and the Big 12 air regularly on the FOX Sports family of networks and Sports Illustrated Asia, one network in the Philippines is noticeably absent.

The network in question is Solar Entertainment’s Basketball TV, who back in April aired the U.S. NCAA Final Four and Championship games alongside Solar Sports. Unfortunately, the network’s emphasis on the more popular NBA once again put into question their commitment to air next year’s March Madness, let alone the entire U.S. NCAA season.

The last time BTV actually aired regular season U.S. NCAA basketball games was back in the 2012-13 season. This was also the last time the network aired March Madness prior to last April.

The history between the U.S. NCAA and Basketball TV date back to the fledgling network’s first season in 2006-07. Back then, the network was home to several popular conference tournaments, and they also aired a select number of March Madness games as well.

Unfortunately, U.S. college basketball failed to make an imprint in the consciousness of Filipino hoop fans. Unlike the UAAP or the Filipino NCAA where its rules are based on FIBA’s template (hence a faster style of play), the U.S. NCAA employs a unique set of rules such as 20-minute halves, 30 or 35-second shot clocks, and one-and-one free throw situations.

It also did not help that U.S. college basketball players are essentially obscure names. The fact is, for Filipino hoop fans, they will only gain popularity if they were drafted in the NBA and play well there.

That said, BTV’s decision to drop the U.S. NCAA coverage back in the 2013-14 season was the right choice considering its lack of popularity here. While it did manage to air the Final Four in April, it was done out of necessity since no other network was committed enough to air.

Although Creighton’s Kobe Paras is trying to lift the profile of U.S. NCAA basketball in the Philippines, one thing is clear. U.S. NCAA hoops will never become as popular as the NBA here, and that’s a painful fact.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Underrated College Basketball Leagues Try to Etch Footprints on Philippine TV

The 2016 NAASCU basketball tournament is just one of three under-the-radar collegiate basketball competitions that received ample airtime on television this year. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The 2016 NAASCU basketball tournament is just one of three under-the-radar collegiate basketball competitions that received ample airtime on television this year. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The UAAP and the NCAA are not the only collegiate basketball tournaments that are making hoop fans jump for joy.

This year, three other college basketball tournaments are getting their much-needed due by way of television exposure. They are:

  • NAASCU (National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities)
  • CESAFI (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.)
  • UCBL (Universities and Colleges Basketball League)

The NAASCU is the third most popular collegiate sports league in the country behind the UAAP and the NCAA. The league is also the biggest membership-wise among the three, with a total of 14 member schools.

This year, the NAASCU men’s basketball tournament was televised via Solar Sports and Basketball TV, with the finals of the men’s, women’s and juniors tournaments also airing on the said networks. It marked the first time that the whole NAASCU tournament was aired on television; previous coverors in IBC-13 and Net 25 aired a select amount of games, with the latter focusing in particular on the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned New Era University teams.

The CESAFI, on the other hand, is the top collegiate sports league in the Visayas. Although the CESAFI is not as well-recognized as its Metro Manila counterparts, it nevertheless carved its own niche in the Filipino hoops scene by producing stars such as current Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter and San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo.

The 12-member CESAFI currently airs its basketball tournament on AksyonTV, and is produced by VIVA Sports. Previously, the games were aired on IBC-13.

And speaking of IBC-13, a new league began to sprout on the said channel. That league, the UCBL, is exclusively a basketball-only league unlike its fellow contemporaries, with seven schools from all over Luzon participating.

The UCBL games are produced by the Asian Television Content Corporation, the same outfit that produced the NAASCU and the PBA D-League on IBC-13. The deal to air the games was set a month ago, even as the network continues its privatization process.

Indeed, college basketball in the Philippines is on the upswing. Although the UAAP and the NCAA continue to be the darlings of the sport, the less heralded trio in the NAASCU, CESAFI and UCBL now try to find their own niche, and this should benefit the game of basketball as a whole in the country.

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