Asian Games? What Asian Games?

During the olden days, the Asian Games was deemed as the spectacle we brace.

During these games we saw the triumphs of legendary athletes like track and field’s Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros, swimming’s Eric Buhain, Ryan Papa, and Akiko Thomson, Bowling’s Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo, Tennis’ Felix Barrientos, Basketball’s Caloy Loyzaga, Equestrian’s Mikee Cojuangco and Toni Leviste, Pool’s Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante, Boxing’s Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Roel Velasco, Joan Tipon, and Violito Payla

And the list goes on.

Since the Games’ start in 1951, the Philippines have been part of the event. In the all-time medal tally, our nation rank ninth.

As early as last year’s Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee have tried to assemble the best athlete to at least rank within the Top 10 of the medal tally.  

But let’s face it – the fact that the preparation was in between presidency made the budget to shell out remotely favorable. Didn’t just turned away the request for the naturalization of Marcus Douthit? Douthit, the former LA Lakers draftee could have played for the Smart Gilas team in their vow to claim the Asian throne. The Congress and the Senate hurried to pass the bill and all of a sudden President Noynoy Aquino thought that it was a bad idea that his first passed bill was the naturalization of a foreigner!

Did the government sent off these athletes well? Hopefully Noynoy Aquino gave these guys a pep talk even with his busy schedule and all.  

Here’s the thing: each country needs to have at least one government station. In the Philippines, there are three – NBN, RPN, and IBC. The two latter channels are sequestered channels which basically meant that they can be rented or sold. This is why back in the 90’s Viva-Vintage would own the primetime slots of IBC and currently, Solar would own the primetime spots of RPN. Among the three only NBN can’t be rented unless the government dictates.

But wait, why am I still calling NBN as such? As of this moment, the National Broadcasting Network will cease to exist and just like the Phoenix, People Television or PTV-4 will return. The network that gave you the early broadcasts of Ating Alamin and the PBA, as well as those cultural, sports, and livelihood shows like Tele-Aralan, Damayan, For Art’s Sake, Motoring Today, and Paco Park Presents is back to join the network wars.

Or maybe not.

Still, the new administration could be the shot in the arm the government station needs. While it can’t battle the bombs banged by the triumvirate of GMA, ABS-CBN, TV5, it can get a ratings boost by becoming the key media partner of various sporting events like the Olympics, Asian Games, and the South East Asian Games.

A couple of hours ago, I was listening to the online basketball radio streaming with Team Pilipinas battling it out against Qatar. At that point, Smart Gilas was dismantling the Qataris with JV Casio, Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams, Marcio Lassiter, Sol Mercado, Chris Tiu, and Greg Slaughter doing the damage. Noli Eala was commentating and overacting or not, I was envious that he was screaming his lungs out. I tried to catch it on the TV set but it seems like there is no media coverage of the event.

What… the… fuck???

Do you know how the popularity of the PBA declined? The PBA as the Bayan ng mga Superstars was a powerhouse entity that was spared from the network wars. By 2002, the network war was starting to spew lava. With Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Weakest Link backing up the PBA, Viva Vintage was trying to survive. However during the Asian Games… when everyone was ecstatic that the Philippines could face Yao Ming, Bateer Mengke, and Wang Zhizhi and the rest of China in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the dreadful thing happened.

Asi Taulava failed to convert on his free throws entering the last minute. Then Olsen Racela muffed his free throws as well that could have sealed South Korea’s fate. Then-RP Coach Jong Uichico failed to call a timeout to calm his troops.

Lee Sang Min sniped from afar and in the nick of time slapped the Philippines’ face via a cold-blooded triple.

I don’t know about you guys but inasmuch as I hate to see that happening again, at least I want to witness it.

Korea has Arirang TV, Japan has NHK, China has CCTV, Spain has TVE, and France has TV5. All of these networks are government channels! Why are they funded? Why do they have worthwhile shows? Why can I see the beauty of the culture of those countries?

The right answer… the government is trying its best to fund their government channels.

Except for lotto, what will the new PTV offer? I wish I can say a lot of public service programs aimed to help people but I don’t know if the government is willing to give out money. I wish I can say travelogues to promote the Philippines as a tourist hotspot but I don’t know how they’ll pull that off.

Sporting events could be the key… but why did no one covered the Asian Games?

The government station has automatic dibs on the coverage rights of these kinds of spectacles. Only if the government station is unable to provide support that those rights are transferred to private channels. During the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, ABS-CBN seriously pursued PTV to give up their rights and with the US Dream Team and the other events, the network reaped gloriously.

It is such a shame that sponsors and channels feigned on supporting the events.  

PTV’s glorious reign ended during the Estrada Administration where it is said that the bosses of that period stole a lot from their budget. During the Arroyo Administration, it did have something but that something can’t help the employees of that station.

For Noynoy Aquino, this is a chance for him to make use of media to PTV properly. Have his programs for the Filipinos broadcasted through the government station as well as NBN World, its international arm (or whatever you’ll call it now since it was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that coined NBN).

With the monopoly of the channels slowly getting decimated, maybe covering these international sporting events could be something that we should look at.

In a time where people need patriotism and triumph… heroes they could look up to… these international events are important more than ever.

And maybe at that point I can finally watch Philippine-represented international meets with gusto. That bowler and those dancesport athletes won medals (Biboy Rivera won gold) and yet we are not giving our countrymen the visual on how they worked hard for their medals. And as for the medal winners... who will be proud of them if no one can't see what they did?

By the way, congratulations to Biboy Rivera for the gold medal in bowling and Frederick Ong (bowling), Ronnie Steve Vergara, and Charlea Lagaras (dancesport) for their bronze medals.

We are proud of you... we just don't know it yet.

Game over.  


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