FOR Mico Halili, it’s like coming back home.
The veteran broadcaster makes a comeback with ABS-CBN Sports after more than a decade of being involved covering the PBA.
Halili is going to be one of the anchors who will do the broadcast coverage of Season 78 of the UAAP for ABS-CBN and Sports Action 23, something which he last did 13 years ago after spending time calling the play by play coverage of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league for ABC-5, Solar Sports, and later TV5.
He admitted coming back and doing the collegiate league again serves as a new challenge for him.
“I feel like a rookie again,” said the popular sportscaster in an interview with Spin.ph. “I haven’t covered college ball in more than 10 years.”
Halili was actually among the commentators for ABS-CBN Sports during the broadcast giant’s early years of covering the UAAP games.
“They keep on saying that ‘I’m coming back home.’ That’s very true. I started with the MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association) and the UAAP. A lot of the production guys are still part of the production team now. I’m working with familiar faces and I’m very thankful and excited to work with them,” said the man known for his catchphrase ‘Yes Sir!’ during games.
Even though a seasoned veteran in broadcasting, the husband of GMA News reporter Pia Arcangel disclosed feeling some pressure doing the UAAP game this season as he said the league has gotten bigger and better since the last time he covered it in 2002.
“It’s become so much bigger from the time I was covering it. The league is bigger, the following is bigger, the media coverage is bigger, even the press conferences are much bigger now, which makes it also nerve wracking for me.
“There is pressure for me to perform and deliver based on the magnitude of the league,” he said.
Halili said doing the collegiate game is very different from the PBA since the UAAP gives him the pleasure of covering players who are just starting their basketball careers.
“I think the difference is that the game is naturally faster because these are younger guys who are still developing as a basketball player. What makes the college game exciting is that they will make mistakes and that’s part of learning. You are actually covering players who are just becoming better basketball players.
“The spirit of the game is much younger. Fans are younger. The players are younger. Hopefully, the effect is babata rin ako by covering this,” said Halili with a smile.
Despite his move to ABS-CBN, Halili will remain a presenter for CNN Philippines’ ‘Sportsdesk’, and will only do UAAP coverages on weekends.
And neither is he closing the door of returning to the PBA as fans still misses his presence and his voice on the boob tube.
“I’m very grateful that some people felt that way,” said Halili when told that some fans miss him doing the PBA games. “Mahirap magsalita ng tapos.”
“People have asked me on Twitter, on Facebook na ‘Sir, bakit ka lumipat?’ Ako naman, I always say that I covered the PBA for 13 years and I love every second of it. But I felt that at this stage, maybe you could call it midlife crisis, but I felt the need to look for another challenge, and covering the UAAP is a new challenge even if nanggaling na ako dito.
“This is a much bigger game and I’m looking forward to doing it.”