Let’s hear it for NCAA basketball
This was a season that was definitely for the history booksBy Roy Steven Eriga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The NCAA has always been known as the “other collegiate league,” always living in the shadow of the more popular UAAP. Little do people know that the older generations still claim that the NCAA was the top collegiate league of their time.
Things haven’t changed much—the NCAA has a good season, but no one gets to be in the limelight for too long, unlike the other league, which is jampacked with features from elimination games. The Final Four of the NCAA barely gets enough attention.
Now a whole new game is being played. AKTV on IBC recently got hold of the TV rights for the NCAA, and they were reportedly getting higher ratings than the other league being televised on Studio 23. The good part here is that the time slot is newer and a whole lot better, because it is on prime time. That could mean that even those who are not students who have nothing better to watch could switch channels and see one of the most popular sports in the country. Time slots could have contributed a lot to its rise in ratings—the basketball fans who arrive home from work or school.
The new face of the NCAA is much better than before. A lot of people expected the season to be just the same, with the stronger teams holding on to their spots for most of the season with nothing much happening. But they were sure surprised with this one. The fact is, the games don’t always turn out as expected.
One example was the game between San Beda and University of Perpetual Help where, in the last few seconds of the last quarter, Baser Amer of San Beda threw a Hail Mary from half court, which tied the game and sent it into overtime. University of Perpetual Help ended up winning the game, to the surprise of some basketball fans.
On the topic of some notable players, Jett Vidal put on a show this year, shooting from the three-point range the whole season and even putting in a buzzer-beater here and there. Kevin Alas, with his much-improved performance, came up with a 43-point game against San Sebastian in game 1 of the semifinals, generating a lot of noise.
Speaking of noise, the crowd in the NCAA has gotten way more intense. The sad truth is, the NCAA crowd had been considered bastos, or as the “jeje” crowd, sometimes you’re wary to wear a school shirt—fans from other schools might gang up on you. Maybe they were just looking at it all wrong. The rival schools hunger not just for a win, but they also want to make their opponents know that they’ve lost, rubbing it in their faces because they have every right to do so. That means more pressure for the players on court.
People just have to understand that the competitiveness of the NCAA was not meant to be compared with that of the UAAP. But maybe people cannot help but be involved in the heated battle of these schools. That also includes online opinions and comments made by students, alumni and faculty. That happens in every league. Most of the people who watch the games live tend to be more vocal and sometimes very demonstrative with their feelings about their school winning.
This was a season that was definitely for the history books. The epic finals game was between San Beda College and Colegio de San Juan de Letran, who fought not only to win the championship, but to finally break their 16-all tie for total Senior’s basketball titles won. San Beda ended up winning in a very dominant showing by blowing away their opponent in game 3 of the finals series.
A few hours afterward, the Internet (more specifically, Facebook) was filled with Internet memes, some from the Bedan community congratulating the teams. The depressing part was seeing the Letran memes Facebook page showing so much disrespect before the end of the finals.
What changed that for everyone was a Letran student who posted a picture of the Bedan crowd, and in a move that surprised people, thanked the school for an exciting finals series and told his fellow Letranites not to leave before they could sing their school hymn. That was a good sign of things to come, considering that the SBC-CSJL match-up was violent a few years back.
The NCAA definitely put on a good show this year. People may want to watch and scout for talent from this league.