2015: A banner year for ABS-CBN Sports

KAPAMILYA DAY - Kane Errol Choa - The Philippine Star

It can be said that 2015 was a great year for the sporting community, much more so for ABS-CBN Sports as it celebrated many feats and sporting highlights in one year alone, bringing the action closer to the Filipino people on free TV.

Filipinos love sports. We love competition and how it brings out the best in us. It unites us as we cheer for our schools in collegiate wars, and unite as a nation with a single battle cry. ABS-CBN Sports, headed by Dino Laurena, delivered that and more this year.

Here are a few of the top moments that ABS-CBN Sports brought to the viewers in 2015:

1.) Pacquiao vs. Mayweather

For the first time in years, the Kapamilya network was able to air the most anticipated fight in recent memory on free TV: The Pacquiao-Mayweather megabout. ABS-CBN Sports threw in its all-out support for the People’s Champion, Manny Pacquiao, holding various activities in the lead up to the fight. There was a concert attended by various Kapamilya stars, an innovative website with a punch meter, and the blow-by-blow coverage during the Isang Bayan Para Kay Pacman campaign.

The airing of the fight garnered a 24 percent national TV rating, according to Kantar Media, while the campaign received a Best Sports Digital Platform award in the Asia Sports Industry Awards, and two silver awards from the 2015 Spark Awards for Best Media Solution — Integrated Media and Best Campaign by a Media Owner. The punch meter ABS-CBN Sports introduced in the campaign generated 126 million punches.

2.) The return of the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire

Nonito Donaire’s road to redemption was well-documented by ABS-CBN Sports. He made his first appearance on the ring since his defeat from Nicholas Walters of Jamaica in ALA and ABS-CBN Sports’ Pinoy Pride 30: D-Day fight card held at the Araneta Coliseum. Since then, Nonito has won many fights and now holds the IBO Superbantamweight belt. And the match where he got that — against Cesar Juarez — was also nominated for Fight of the Year. Right now, the “Filipino Flash” is looking at another bout before using his belt as a bargaining chip to face old nemesis Guillermo Rigondeaux. His return to the ring coincided with Pinoy Pride’s global march after the fight card collaboration between ABS-CBN and ALA Boxing Gym mounted fights in Dubai and the United States of America.

3.) The rise and fall of Ronda Rousey

The former UFC Women’s champ was a transcendental talent inside the Octagon. She was winning fights left and right inside 30 seconds of the first round until she met former Women’s boxing star Holly Holm who gave her a roundhouse kick to remember. Nevertheless, ABS-CBN Sports, with the help of the now defunct Balls Channel, brought the Filipinos closer to each of Rousey’s splendid tap-out lightning fights.

4.) Ateneo volleyball’s double championship

2015 saw the demand for more volleyball rise. And as people clamored for more action, Ateneo de Manila University went out with a bang and dropped the hammer on the entire UAAP as both its Women’s and Men’s Volleyball squads finished at the top of the table, conquering bitter rivals as they did so.

Alyssa Valdez led the charge for the Lady Eagles, crushing De La Salle in the Finals in front of a mammoth crowd at the MOA Arena. She was pretty much merciless as she hammered the Green Archer defense that lost its captain Abby Marano to graduation, again and again with her thundering spikes to make it a back-to-back conquest.

The men’s team, on the other hand, avenged their past Finals defeat against the Peter Torres-led NU Bulldogs. League MVP Marck Espejo was never denied in bringing his alma mater their first-ever Men’s Volleyball diadem.

5.) The NCAA comes home

After a few years of absence, the NCAA returned home to the fold of ABS-CBN Sports to a rousing success for Season 91. The adage “home is where the heart is” rings true for the league, which has since become more visible and drawn crowds in the San Juan Arena and packed the SM MOA Arena during the finals. The Finals series between bitter rivals San Beda and Letran was one of the best collegiate championship series to date.

6.) FEU and Letran end 10-year title droughts

FEU and Letran have been either out of the Final Four, or languished through bridesmaid finishes. FEU had a chance in 2010 to be the alpha of the UAAP but the underdog squad of Norman Black and Ryan Buenafe had other plans as they annexed Ateneo’s third straight title then. Letran had two chances to snatch the crown from San Beda’s dynastic reign but failed, getting crushed when the fight mattered the most. But with FEU’s superstar forward Mac Belo and Letran’s spitfirish guard Mark Cruz, the two schools finally climbed the hill and sat on their throne.

7.) Golden State Warriors putting on a fun show for the ages

What made people enamored with the new NBA Champions was that they played without frills, without ego, and all fun. Soon enough, Filipinos caught on and now love the Warriors and its star Stephen Curry. Who cannot love the MVP after all? He’s like us. He’s not that tall, he’s not an athletic monster, and he just gets by with heart, desire and an unparalleled skill of putting the ball through the hoop 30 feet away. ABS-CBN Sports also covered Steph’s recent visit to Manila and even made a documentary titled Idol Ko si Steph.

Kapamilya who avidly tune into ABS-CBN Sports + Action can expect more heart-stopping action this year, especially now that the wildly-popular UAAP Volleyball season is just around the corner. Aside from that, Sports + Action will now air UAAP football games, finally appeasing the clamor for more UAAP football on TV by the fans.

2016 has lots in store for ABS-CBN Sports aside from the two events of the UAAP, which opens on Jan. 30. There’s the airing of the NCAA Volleyball playoffs as well as various leagues of other sports ranging from European football, to Volleyball Grand Prixes and local competitions, to Top Rank Boxing, and to ALA and ABS-CBN Sports’ Pinoy Pride fight cards so make sure to tune into ABS-CBN Sports + Action to get your daily sports fix.














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