Feeling never gets old as veteran sportscasters return to courtside

Dec 9, 2021
Sev Sarmenta, right, and Quinito Henson call the PBA Governors Cup opening game at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
Sev Sarmenta, right, and Quinito Henson call the PBA Governors Cup opening game at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
PHOTO: Gerry Ramos

THE 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup opening game on Wednesday also marked the return of two veteran broadcasters who were the voices of the league for years.

Sev Sarmenta and Quinito Henson were at ringside for a PBA game for the first time in two years, thrilled to work the game between Alaska and NorthPort at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Due to stringent pandemic protocols, senior talents were barred from working on the venue and even on the studios of TV5 during the PBA bubble in Clark in 2020 and the semi-bubble in Pasig and Bacolor this year.

Boy were they glad to be back

“We are happy to be back,” said Sarmenta, who recalled hosting the Leo Awards on March 8, 2020 and a 2019 Governors’ Cup Finals game between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco before the pandemic prompted a lockdown.

“It’s been a while. A lot of apprehensions but we are glad to be back. It’s exciting. It's nice to work with Quinito again,” added Sarmenta, who still worked on March 10, 2020 in a closed-door Philippine Super Liga game at the Filoil Flying V Centre before the whole country was put under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

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Henson recalled the last time he called the game pre-pandemic was January 17, 2020, working with Sarmenta in Ginebra's series-clinching win over Meralco.

Veteran PBA sportscasters Quinito Henson and Sev Sarmenta.

Henson was happy to finally be back in the venue, but admitted the absence of fans brings a different feeling.

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“It’s been awhile. Almost two years. But I miss the fans. Iba talaga pag may fans. Baka magkaroon ng good news next week. But just to see the games live again, it’s just an exhilarating feeling,” said Henson.

Henson said he prepared for the game the usual way he has done over the years. For Sarmenta, however, he admitted he had to do more research especially on the new players.

“Usual preparation ko, I had about two hours of preparation before this game. Ginawa ko ‘yung aking Dean’s List. Dapat substantiated ‘yun. Ginawa ko ‘yung mga stats so that at least meron tayong masabing extra value,” said Henson.

"That’s always been our style."

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    Sarmenta, who also worked in Tokyo during the Olympics, said: “Ang preparation ko is I had to get to know more of the new players. It’s been almost 20 months of not doing the games. It’s different when you see them live. You can watch them online and everything but iba ‘yung nandito. And having a veteran partner makes it easy for you.”

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    Being away from the mic for so long, Henson admitted he made mistakes during the broadcast.

    “I think I made some mistakes towards the end. Instead of saying Jeron Teng was the Best Player of the Game, I said he was the Best Player of the Conference. Malaking mali ‘yun,” said Henson.

    On Thursday, it was Andy Jao who will make his return to the broadcast booth and Sarmenta is just thankful to the PBA for allowing his fellow seniors to be in the game again.

    “Maraming salamat kay Commissioner Willie Marcial binalik ‘yung mga nakakatanda dito. May nakakasama na siyang nakakatanda,” said Sarmenta in jest.

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    Sev Sarmenta, right, and Quinito Henson call the PBA Governors Cup opening game at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
    PHOTO: Gerry Ramos
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