THREE DAYS from now, the sporting eyes of the world will fixate on South Korea for the 16 days of glory in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
While it may not be in the Filipino sporting aficionados’ attention due to the geographic consideration as a tropical country, it is a noteworthy moment for two athletes that will partake and will banner under the Three Stars and a Sun.
Asa Miller, the 17-year-old rookie, despite his residence in Oregon, will be the first alpine skier to compete for the Philippines in 26 years. Meanwhile, 21-year-old skater Michael Christian Martinez, despite failing to make the qualifying cut on the CS Nebelhorn Trophy, finally gets another chance to shine after Sweden relinquished the spot due to the unsatisfied performance level of Alexander Majorov by their national Olympic Committee.
In addition, this edition of the Winter Games will make the debut of two Southeast Asian nations: Malaysia (with alpine skier Jeffrey Webb and figure skater Julian Yee) and Singapore (with short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh).
Last January, the promotion of the Winter Games was aired over ABS-CBN, presuming that their sports channel, S+A, would cover the games for the first time. However, the speculation bubble was popped out as TV5 – for the fourth overall, second in the concerned season and the first time under the ESPN5 brand — is confirmed to cover exclusively, according to SportsCenter Philippines.
Conflict in ceremonies, clear in competition
With the confirmed news, both ceremonies that begin and end the Games will face conflict on the main channel and might be consequently covered live on AksyonTV.
The opening ceremony on Friday, February 9, will begin at the same time (7:00 p.m. Philippine time) with the traditional PBA evening game – in this case, NLEX Road Warriors vs Meralco Bolts. The closing ceremony on February 25 will coincide with FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifier game against Japan in our home court.
That said, it wouldn’t be surprising as TV5 will favor both games of hoops over both showcases of the artistry of the international multi-sport event.
On the bright side, when it comes to the competition proper for our contingents, there is no problem in live coverage, in terms with TV5, as they will take place in the morning – as we are one hour behind South Korea. Provided, they will delay the NCAA (U.S.) basketball.
Miller’s debut will take shape from this Sunday (February 11) until February 22 if his first-time performance is exceptional.
On the other hand, Martinez’s two-day competition will kick in on February 16 – fortunately, both holidays on both nations (Lunar New Year or “Seollal” in Korea) — with the short program and followed by the free skate.
Unfazed by unavoidable
While one or few said that TV5’s return to cover the Olympics is where they rightfully belong, not everyone is convinced.
For them, it could be a repeat of what happened back to Rio in 2016 where they fail to commit full-blown coverage despite the live streaming on the network’s YouTube channels.
To be honest, ABS-CBN (through S+A) would have been a bit worse in cover the Winter Games since they are preoccupied with NBA, UAAP and NCAA volleyball tournaments, English (Premier) and Spanish (La Liga) football and the inaugural Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). It’s new cable-exclusive sports channel, Liga, wouldn’t apply as they don’t have football or basketball in the competition.
On the other hand, PTV would be the worst if they cover their first Winter Olympics; both ceremonies would cut any significant 20 minutes each due to Lotto and the competition proper could be disrupted by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s daily press conference and by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Anyway, the Turf wishes both of our athletes the best in their respective journey in South Korea — amidst the lack of support from both the government and the Philippine Olympic Committee — and also to the rest of the athletes of the world.
Just a little throwback Tuesday…
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, International Olympic Committee (IOC), KGW and Ilustrado Magazine