SHUTTERED media giant ABS-CBN remains supported by its various sports league partners despite being denied a franchise renewal by the House of Representatives.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the country’s oldest collegiate sports league, and the Philippine Volleyball League (PVL) have expressed their all-out support although the network is no longer allowed to resume broadcast operations.
Peter Cayco, the former Management Committee chairman of the NCAA Season 95 host, Arellano University, told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Saturday that the league is not turning its back on its longtime media partner.
“We were saddened by the development, but there’s nothing we can do. I am pretty [sure] that we can work something out with ABS-CBN; [for example,] in its other platforms [such as] video streaming,” said Cayco. “I think we’re heading [towards] that direction.”
Cayco said the league would also sit down with ABS-CBN representatives to discuss what’s best for both parties. But transferring to another network is not an option when the NCAA opens Season 96 with host Letran, possibly by May next year.
“There will be some renegotiation [on] both sides. Walang TV, walang ads [at] walang revenue (There’s no TV, there are no ads and there is no revenue). So, I think the best way [is] mag-usap lang muna (to discuss first),” added Cayco.
“Production-wise, we are sticking with ABS-CBN. Pagtugmain muna kung ano ‘yung (Let’s first match the things that are) workable. We cannot ask for the moon if [it is] out of reach,” he concluded.
Ricky Palou, the president of Sports Vision that runs the PVL, said the spikers’ league will wait for ABS-CBN to set the stage before making any decision. For the meantime, the PVL will maintain the media network as the league’s official broadcast partner.
“Hinihintay pa namin ‘yung ABS-CBN kung anong platform. Depende kung beneficial sa amin at sa kanila (We’re still waiting for ABS-CBN to determine what platform we’ll use. It depends on whether it will be beneficial to them and to us),” explained Palou, adding that the PVL is not shopping for another network. “Wala pa. Masyadong maaga ‘yan (Not yet. That’s too soon). We want to hear the report of ABS-CBN first before deciding anything.”
While volleyball, basketball and other contact sports are still disallowed under general community quarantine restrictions, the PVL has yet to resume practices and conditioning training.
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) said it would support its longtime broadcast partner but also said it would explore other options after its five-year contract lapsed at the end of May.
“We commiserate with our longtime partner, but this is ultimately a business decision that the board [members] will have to make, using their best judgment, based on facts and information available to them,” said UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag to The Manila Times via text message.
Saguisag added that the UAAP would proceed as scheduled.
“We conclude negotiations; then, evaluate our options. Our decision will be based on what is best for the UAAP community,” he concluded.
Based on early reports, the UAAP board members are planning to open Season 83 by the first quarter of 2021, pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Since 2000, ABS-CBN has served as the UAAP’s home network, broadcasting the basketball and volleyball games through ABS-CBN Sports + Action (UHF channel 23).
Meanwhile, legal adviser Atty. Brando Viernesto said the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), a blocktimer in the ABS-CBN network, is under no pressure to find an alternative television network partner for now since the league is skipping the 2020 season.
MPBL though has still a few matches to cap off the postponed 2019 to 2020 season when the government allows the resumption of games.
he league is willing to livestream the remaining games on Facebook since there are only five playoff games left — two semifinals and the best-of-three finals — in the 2019 to 2020 season.