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    COLUMN: PBA boasts record livestream views. Well, it spoke too soon

    Oct 20, 2021
    PBA officials say the league is setting livestreaming records this season. Guess they spoke too soon.
    PBA officials say the league is setting livestreaming records this season. Guess they spoke too soon.
    PHOTO: PBA Images
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    CHICAGO - While PBA chairman Ricky Vargas gloated about the league's "record-breaking" FB live streaming views today, Commissioner Willie Marcial went out of his way to thump his chest, too.

    "Buhay and PBA."

    Good to know, Kume. But nobody ever said the PBA is dead. Almost everyone just thinks it's unwell.

    Which is why your eroding fan base would rather hear about what steps you intend to take in the face of multifarious problems concerning draft eligibility rules, the need for a stringent salary cap that would address the lack of parity, and the long-overdue creation of a players' union.

    And I haven't even mentioned the B.League yet.

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    Japan is invading us again, this time on the hoops corridor where the Japanese are providing salvation for talented PBA players who deserve higher, better pay while offering the simple joy of playing basketball politics-free.

    The NBA never gloats about its ratings. Only the media partners and the bean counters pay detailed attention to those arcane numbers.

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    Hardcore fans don't give a damn about ratings.

    Look, if a game is good and tightly-contested, I'd watch it until the last second ticks away. I don't care and neither would I want to know if there are 20 lost souls or 3.9 million happy human beings watching it with me on the world wide web.

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    The championship round is the centerpiece of any tournament, so I'd rather see Marcial and Vargas wave me the glossy ratings when this conference is all over.

    SO WHY PUT THE HORSE BEFORE THE CARRIAGE?

    Well, here's my theory.

    Despite Marcial's assertions that this Giga-Hotshots showdown is "maganda," a lot of fans would take their eyes off it quickly.

    Just look at Game 1. TNT raced to a 53-34 halftime lead before stretching the advantage to 78-55 with 5:31 left in the third quarter. The Giga eventually ran away with it, 80-70.

    Who wants to see that?

    Ratings are fleeting, it's value fluctuating like the market price of gold. The PBA probably had a hunch that the ultimate round would tank, thus the exuberant announcement about "robust" ratings.

    Kelly Williams scored 10 points in Game One for TNT.

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    Let's face it, Magnolia is a feel-good story spiced by the redemption of Calvin Abueva and the emperor-like rise of coach Chito Victolero.

    But they're not Ginebra. They don't have the same hardcore following fueled by tradition and sustained by a mixed bag of personalities and stars.

    Japeth. Tenorio, Thompson. Cone.

    Doesn't that sound like glamour?

    TNT is great. But other than it's brilliant coaching staff and deadshot Roger Pogoy, they're just another team with money and clout.

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      As much as we scorn at San Miguel's "evil empire" dominance as though they were Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers, we can't stop watching them because they are an All-Star team.

      Romeo and Fajardo do not sound like a hoop tragedy. It rings like another grand slam in the making.

      If Game 2 is another blowout I'd love to listen to Mr. Vargas and Kume update us on the finals ratings.

      Continue reading below ↓

      Gotta finish what you start, right?

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      PBA officials say the league is setting livestreaming records this season. Guess they spoke too soon.
      PHOTO: PBA Images
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