BY BONG PEDRALVEZ
FILIPINO football fans hoping to watch the Philippine Azkals’ game live in its entirety in the group stage of the Asian Challenge Cup starting on March 21 in Myanmar may miss at least two games.
Studio 23, which is covering the games, may not air the matches on March 23 and 25 live because the air time for both games has been awarded to block timer Solar TV for its coverage of the pro league.
"Studio23 cannot cover Azkals’ Mar. 23 & 25 games LIVE bcoz Solar TV has already bought rights to 5pm timeslot for d PBA," PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon said on his Twitter account yesterday.
The games affected are the Azkals’ battles against Palestine on March 23 and Bangladesh on March 25. Both games are set at 3:30 p.m. in Myanmar, 5 p.m. in Manila.
The nationals, who advanced to the next round after beating Mongolia 3-2 on aggregate in the qualifiers, open their bid against the host team on March 21, a non-PBA playing day, also at 5 p.m.
Both games can be telecast on a delayed basis.
Fans quickly flooded the Azkals Facebook page with reactions to the report, ranging from sadness to outrage.
"Azkals minsan lang makita maglaro!!! Tapos ganyan pa!!!Hindi tulad ng PBA..always na may laro.. Ano ba yan!!!" fumed somebody identified by his handle as Yo Non Lee.
"Huh!..sayang," Azkal fanatic Rechie Arellano said.
"I blame basketball for destroying the popularity of football in the country," Kyrilsama Jimeno said.
Others had cheeky comments.
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