IT SEEMS Easter lilies bloom over Visayas Avenue with not one sport special but two.
While the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball League’s (G-League) delayed telecast was ongoing last December, the sole English newscast of the government station, NewsLife, mentioned the network’s deal with FilSports Basketball Association (FBA). GMA Network was supposed to be the carrier of this home-and-away league but due to Ralph Domingo’s reluctance of setting up the big network’s separate yet equal sports division, the deal was then entrusted to the 41-year-old network.
For critics and sports archivists, FBA would have reminded of Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) of ABS-CBN from 1998 to 2002. Like the MBA, the teams represent a particular city, province or island, and like the PBA, the teams have a name of an endorsed product or educational institution (except in the case of Antipolo) with a catching word that relates to preceding names.
The league opened since January 28 but the actual game, with six teams signed up, commenced on late February.
The telecast on PTV will commence this Monday, April 6, and will run daily from 3:30-5:30 p.m. replacing the finished timeslot of G-League for two months (December 9 to February 5).
The other sport special will be Spiker’s Turf, a male counterpart of the Shakey’s V-League.
The kick-off match begins later at 9:00 a.m. at San Juan Arena with Cagayan and Champion on play but the televised coverage will not be until tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. (weekdays) and at 3:00 p.m. (Saturday), after NewsLife but before the daily religious program, Apostle Renato Carillo’s Oras ng Himala. Carillo’s daily show would be pushed after midnight, and it would make PTV compete with the sign-off period with the other networks.
Programs that can affect on the unpopular timeslot for a sport special include Tony Lopez’s BizNews, Rose Solangon’s Gabay at Aksyon and Mr. Joromy Santos’ Real Lives, Real People. Thus, it will depend on them whether to move to a more feasible timeslot, to be on hold until they finished or to scrap it entirely.
However, both sports specials are mostly unheard of in the ears of avid sports fans not because of the “da who” mentality but with three reasons:
- The delayed schedule of the telecast. Like the G-League last December, the two sport specials to be televised are delayed ranging from more than 24 hours to few weeks would mean slim and lesser profit they’ll receive than carrying it as live as possible. This is not what the credo of ABS-CBN or TV5 when it comes to their sports coverage. For her younger sister, IBC 13, the PBA D-League currently under their Foundation Cup has a few hours’ gap on television from the actual play.
- The questionable existence and/or function of PTV’s sports division. For most of us, we recognize two sports divisions on television: on ABS-CBN (ABS-CBN Sports) and TV5 (Sports5). But when it comes to PTV would end up with “PTV Sports”? The said conclusion is actually a name of daily sports news program. Actually, there is a sports division on PTV as addressed on the resignation letter of Snow Badua, the original mainstay and founder of PTV Sports (the show itself). Badua’s contract was not renewed with irrational excuses from a corrupt officer-in-charge of Channel 4’s sports division. The function of being a sports division for Visayas Avenue similar to the Big Two above would not be able to materialize today due to massive operating losses and therefore, indebtedness, from the past coverage such as UAAP, PBA, Southeast Asia (SEA) Games and the Olympics. (See From the Tube’s 1995 flashback.)
- Lastly, it’s the network’s strict usage and priority. For obvious reasons, for Channel 4 critics, the network is still under the hands of the President’s communication arm for four decades. Sometimes, the specials of sports may be put on hold or may be interrupted midway in somewhat particular priority: to broadcast the President’s message in Malacanang or outside, to cover Senate hearings or to cover press conferences of NDRRMC in preparation of typhoons, just to name a few.
The sole sure thing for PTV is they will receive a part of the profit earned by the deals of both organizations behind their respective sports specials.
[Photo courtesy of FilSports Basketball Association Facebook Page]