Changing the game in sports broadcasting
ABS-CBN Sports has highlighted Pinoys' love for the game of basketball

Changing the game in sports broadcasting

KAPAMILYA DAY - Kane Errol Choa (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2020 - 12:00am

As time runs out on the game clock, ABS-CBN Sports continues to do what it does best changing the game in sports broadcasting.

For its last big play before it “retires,” the sports arm of ABS-CBN staged a virtual closing ceremony for the country’s premier collegiate league, adding another first in its list of achievements and cementing its legacy as a sports organization.

Since ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena announced that his talented squad will bid goodbye by end of August due to the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, there has been an outpouring of stories from athletes, current and former anchors and courtside reporters and die-hard sports fans on how ABS-CBN Sports touched their lives.

From its gutsy beginnings of building a new basketball league featuring homegrown talent in the ‘90s, which is the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), ABS-CBN Sports soared to greater heights as it went beyond covering and analyzing the games to bringing sports fans much closer to their sports idols through telling the inspiring stories of the athletes.

“Dati kasi, ang sports ay tungkol sa games. Nag-iba ang tingin natin sa sports --- naging buhay na rin siya ng mga tao. Kailangan nating ikuwento ang buhay ng mga atleta,” said ABS-CBN Sports + Action (S+A) channel head Vince Rodriguez in an interview on TeleRadyo’s Magandang Morning.

And this was what the fans would get, whether they are watching or reading about the UAAP, NCAA, Premier Volleyball League (PVL), Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), ONE Championship, Pinoy Pride, or the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) on S+A or sports.abs-cbn.com. There would always be features on their journey towards greatness during halftime or on original ABS-CBN Sports productions such as The Score and Upfront.

ABS-CBN Sports also helped pave the way of former Ateneo Lady Eagles standout Alyssa Valdez to local volleyball stardom

At the peak of volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez’s popularity, it even produced a full-length sports documentary, The Flight of the UAAP Phenom, which now has over three million views on YouTube. In a tweet after the sad news about ABS-CBN Sports circulated, Alyssa said “Kasama ko sa pagtupad ng aking mga pangarap. Maraming salamat, @abscbnsports!”

True enough, ABS-CBN Sports has given athletes like her a chance to showcase their talents and be seen all over the world from their collegiate days up to the semi-pro leagues as their games were aired on free TV, streamed online and also shown overseas via TFC.

While it helped popularize indoor and beach volleyball, and recently also men’s volleyball in the country, ABS-CBN Sports has also kept Pinoys’ love for basketball burning through the years with top-notch basketball action in the UAAP, NCAA, MPBL, ABL, and for quite some time, the NBA. It became a daily habit for both hardcore and casual basketball fans to tune in to S+A to cheer on their team in front of their television with family or friends.

In recent years, the Kapamilya sports division changed the game once more as it followed the tides of the digital age and started delivering world-class sports content to every Filipino online through social media, the ABS-CBN streaming service iWant, and its own sports website.

Even competitors took notice. In a Twitter post, TV5’s Chuck Araneta said, “A group so freaking talented, and ALWAYS challenged us at TV5 to step up our broadcast game to a higher level. That group was bold and innovative, unafraid to try new and creative ideas.”

Amid the pandemic, ABS-CBN Sports continued inspiring and entertaining every Filipino with its shows such as The Score, Extra Rice with Beau Belga, SRSLY, UPFRONT, and more

As the pandemic locked everyone indoors, ABS-CBN Sports continued to serve up sports content to Filipino sports fans with “at-home” editions of its shows like Extra Rice with Beau Belga and Kalye Confessions, and even launched new programs like SRSLY and Homework, while also holding the very first stay-at-home dunk competition featuring UAAP stars.

The ingenuity and creativity of the ABS-CBN Sports team have helped young athletes evolve into sports icons, with some even finding new careers as hosts or sports analysts like former Lady Eagle Gretchen Ho and former Lady Spiker Michele Gumabao.

ABS-CBN Sports also helped lay the foundations to the reporter dreams of the likes of former courtside reporters Gretchen Fullido, Ganiel Krishnan and Tina Marasigan, while also being home to the country’s top sports anchors led by Mico Halili, Boom Gonzalez, Nikko Ramos and Anton Roxas.

As ABS-CBN Sports counts down to the end of a chapter in its history, Laurena said it will remain “faithful to its advocacy of promoting the values that sports teaches all of us.”

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