Before I even heard of Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim or even Robert “Sonny” Jaworski, it was the names Michael Young and David Thirdkill that got me curious about the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). I was about 10 that time and I overheard my classmates talking about a particular dunk he did the previous game.
For many basketball enthusiasts of our generation, the late 80s to the early 00s were the true golden years of the PBA. It was during this period that we experienced the formation of our very own “dream team,” (even ahead of the NBA) an exceptional all-pro Philippine national team that won a silver medal in the 1990 Asian Games. Live PBA games were also an unparalleled experience, often witnessing sold-out arenas and creating an electrifying atmosphere, especially during the rare matches held outside Metro Manila.
Before the internet, newspaper reports and TV clips served as our main sources of game information. We would meticulously read multiple newspapers and magazines, hungry for basketball analysts’ insights and trivia. We also didn’t have Google then, but we had “The Dean” Quinito Henson who dished out the basketball knowledge and trivia we desperately craved.
And while the PBA might not be as popular now because of all the other sports and entertainment options we have, the Philippines will always be a basketball country. For this reason, Cignal TV just launched “Pilipinas Live” , a streaming app that could very well be the “Netflix” for sports fans.
A lot of my friends have posted about it on their websites, so I was quite surprised when I saw that it only had a 2.7 rating on the Play Store.
Why the low ratings and is it even worth downloading?
Pilipinas Live is the newest sports powerhouse app that’s set to revolutionize the way fans consume the most in-demand sporting events. This one-of-a-kind OTT streaming platform promises to give subscribers the complete game experience–letting you enjoy the thrill of live broadcasts, including behind-the-scenes action, sports news and updates, interactive fan experiences, and other exclusive features.
According to Jane Jimenez Basas, President, and CEO of Cignal TV, Pilipinas Live was created to reshape the landscape of sports viewing. It offers the ultimate digital experience to Filipino sports enthusiasts wherever they may be. “The innovation behind the app’s development and rollout represents our steadfast commitment to providing only the best to the Pinoy sports fan,” she said.
Pilipinas Live will stream this year’s most anticipated basketball event, the FIBA World Cup 2023 which will feature the best teams around the world. Basas said, with Pilipinas Live, you can watch not just all the games that will be played in the Philippines, but also all the games in Japan and Indonesia.
Currently, Pilipinas Live is also streaming the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference. The PVL features 13 teams – including two foreign squads joining in the semifinal round all vying for the midseason crown.
APP INTERFACE: Once you open the app, you’ll be asked to enter an email to sign in or create an account. Creating an account is fast and easy and you just have to enter the OTP sent to your account to continue. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be greeted by the home screen with the Pilipinas Live Logo on top and a still nonfunctioning Notification bell icon.
You can then browse through several tabs for different leagues; FIBA, PBA, UAAP, PVL, MPBL, and Other Leagues. As you probably noticed by now, most of the games you can watch on this app are either basketball or Volleyball games. On the Other League tab, however, you can find other channels to watch such as the 32nd Southeast Asian Games as well as The Nationals which features Esports competitions.
On the HOME tab you’ll find a carousel for featured games including the PVL Invitational Conference, PBA on Tour, Volleyball Nations Mens League 2023, PBA 3×3 Season 3, MPBL 2023, the ongoing FIBA U19 World Cup 2023, FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023, and FIBA Draw.
Right below it is a list of the upcoming live games as well as their schedule. Next is the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers followed by Quick Cuts which is a collection of short videos from various games and Full Game Highlights. Going further down you’ll see Sports Headlines which will direct you to the latest sports news on onesports.ph. And lastly are the Original Sports shows, Jump Ball, Glory Days, The Bounce, Step Up Season, Hotseat, Sneaker Files, Basketball Science, and Basketball Almanac. I think most of these shows were first available on cable TV and aren’t exclusives to the Pilipinas Live App.
At the very bottom of the main screen is another Home shortcut, My Court, Search and Menu. My Court lists all the games you have watched or are watching, games you purchased, and your Watchlist. You can then see all your account info, link a device, see the devices using your account and manage your subscription plan. I am curious what the Light Show option is for.
Choosing a game or episode will then bring you up to the next screen where you can “heart” and add it to your Watchlist, and share the link to your social media networks and see other related episodes. However, there is still no way to create an alert or add a game to your calendar.
APP and DOWNS: So, does it deserve the 2.7 rating? No, but it’s still a bit far off from getting a 5 star.
Going through those reviews, the users who gave the app a low score thought this was a streaming app where they could just watch live games for free– and you know how much Pinoys love free stuff.
I do think the app developers should give a few days trial or maybe just add a free preview of some games for those who spent time creating an account. It can be quite irritating to sign up only to find out that all you can do is browse the app because all the episodes are locked. The P99 monthly subscription is very affordable though especially for avid hoops/volleyball fans.
Subscribers get to watch the matches commercial-free with extended pre-and post-game coverage since it is not bound to TV time slot constraints. Another unique feature of the app is multiple screen viewing which lets you watch extraordinary plays from various camera points, I haven’t figured out how to use this though. You can also link up to 10 devices per account and can watch different games simultaneously on two screens.
As with other streaming apps, loading times depend on your internet speed. When outside I use my Smart 5G mobile data, and the matches and shows loaded quite fast and the quality was also good. Do note that this varies depending on your signal. When I switched to my PLDT Fiber connection at home, loading times were almost non-existent and the quality was even better. Trying it on both my laptop and mobile phone, the resolution was considerably lower via browser. I wish they would add an option where you could choose your preferred video quality.
One issue that I have is the lazy More Info tab. With all the available games the developers should’ve included a short description, some highlight trivia why it is worth watching or the date of the game. As of now it’s just blank and you need to preview it first to know what the game/episode is about.
It’s a small issue, but I’m also not sold on the name “Pilipinas Live,” as sports isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you see the name. Also, for an app called Pilipinas Live, there’s not a lot of “live” games to watch. Given that it all depends on the league’s schedule a “recently LIVE” tab would be great just to know the newest ones available.
Pilipinas Live, represents a promising step toward reshaping the sports viewing landscape in the Philippines. By offering a comprehensive range of sporting content, immersive experiences, and exclusive features, it aims to cater to the fervent desires of Filipino sports enthusiasts. Now, the app just launched, so hopefully they’d be able to update it soon and maybe add even more sports like golf or tennis or some classic PBA games to its library. But for PHP 99 per month, it’s already a good deal, and hopefully once the FIBA World Cup starts next month, access to the app and the streaming quality of the live games won’t change. To download the app, users can visit the Google Play or App Store or access it through the website https://pilipinaslive.com.