Apart from the 11,000 jobs lost and the disappearance of Ang Probinsyano, one of the biggest losers with the stoppage of the TV giant is sports.
Thanks to the ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel, we’ve enjoyed countless hours of sports entertainment. There’s the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). There’s the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a league founded in 1924 that has flourished because of the live coverage of teams like San Beda, Letran, Mapua and Arellano.
The Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) is another prominent show. Led by Cherry Rondina of Compostela, Cebu, the sport of beach volleyball is popular. Since the first TV broadcast in Boracay in 2016, BVR has volleyed from one beach site to another, including our own white sand paradise in Moalboal. It’s a huge loss not to be able to watch beach volleyball on TV.
Pinoy Pride. Led by the father-and-son tandem of Antonio and Michael Aldeguer, the ALA Boxing group rejuvenated our love for boxing — thanks in part to the innumerable hours of Pinoy Pride bouts showcased in ABS-CBN Sports.
Last May, while the planet was in lockdown, a series of every-Sunday features were showcased in S+A. On May 4, it was Albert Pagara. Two weeks later, it was former world champ Milan Melindo. Last May 24, it was Donnie Nietes, the longest-reigning Filipino boxing champion, in “Pinoy Pride Greatest Hits: Into The Snake’s Pit.”
Goodbye, Pinoy boxing. There’s more. It’s the PVL or Premier Volleyball League. This sport — thanks to TV coverage — has gained the biggest following in the past six years.
Remember Alyssa Valdez? She’s the country’s most famous female athlete. I’ve seen her at the Araneta Coliseum and you’ll be amazed at the thousands of fans who, like magnets, flock to her. Television has helped promote Alyssa and Jia Morado, among others. If none of their PVL games involving Pocari vs. Creamline vs. BaliPure were broadcasted, volleyball would not be as celebrated. Volleyball has been dealt a powerful spike. Out!
Then there’s Manny Pacquiao. Without question the greatest ever Filipino athlete, ABS-CBN Sports helped lift his stature by airing incalculable hours of his boxing exploits. Plus, Pacquiao is the founder of Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). Pitting city versus city, you’ve got the San Juan Knights against Marikina Shoemasters. The MPBL, in just a few years, has risen to prominence — thanks to S+A’s coverage. I’m disappointed in Pacquiao. Given his influence as a (still active) boxer and senator, he did not do more to stop the stoppage of ABS.
Finally, the UAAP. Oh, how we’ll miss watching La Salle vs. Ateneo. Through the years, in football or basketball or volleyball, we’ve been privileged to watch live, pulsating action of the country’s top collegiate league. As Thirdy Ravena said goodbye to Ateneo, we say, goodbye UAAP.
Why did ABS-CBN and S+A get knocked out? If this were boxing, our government officials can do all the weaving and bobbing, but we know the truth: it’s a dirty punch called Politics.