Despite the inclement weather, TV5 PR head Peachy Guioguio felt the acquaintance lunch with new TV5 president/CEO Noel Lorenzana, set as far back as over a month ago was canceled, postponed and reset, had to push through once and for all.
And so last Monday, we braved the rains, sloshed through floods to meet close up and in depth the man on whose hands the fortunes of the network is expected to flourish.
On my way to the venue, I tied a tiny red ribbon around my pinky, a reminder for me to congratulate him. Noel looks so unassuming and low key but in his short, two-month tenure, he has passed his baptism of fire with flying colors.
The acid test was the television production and coverage of the recently concluded 27th Fiba Asia Men’s Championship staged here in Manila.
Never has a local basketball TV coverage enjoyed such high viewership ratings especially the Philippine games against Korea and Iran last Aug. 10 and 11, respectively.
The Philippines-Korea game garnered 33.1 percent audience share while the championship match between the Philippines and Iran drew a higher share at 38.1 percent. These are figures provided by Nielsen Media Research.
I asked TV5 sports manager Vitto Lazatin how these numbers compared to the last Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight and the sixth and seventh games of the NBA championship series between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
Vitto obliged by providing me with well-researched data that showed that the local viewership ratings of the two biggest international events (as far as Filipinos are concerned) were not at great variance compared with the Fiba Asia.
The successful TV coverage of the Fiba-Asia and the resolution of the PBA TV coverage which was in dispute at the time of his appointment both merited a pat on Noel’s back.
* * *
Last Monday, I found out that the new TV5 head is a rabid sports enthusiast who firmly believes that sports is a powerful vehicle towards nation building.
That’s why his approach to sports is wholistic, involving not only the body but the mind and spirit as well. Noel plays tennis, and is good enough to coach the game. He encourages his children to indulge in sports because as he previously mentioned, sports teaches discipline and develops character. Noel’s eldest boy is into four disciplines: taekwondo, football, basketball and tennis.
“I don’t believe in winning at all cost. I believe in fair play,” he said.
Noel was formerly president and COO of NutriAsia which he turned around by almost doubling the business in three years. He has been the chair of Unilever Malaysia and Singapore and has had over 16 years experience in marketing management where he worked his way up from management trainee in Unilever to brand director in Asia for Oral care. He graduated from UP in 1988 with a degree in BS Chemical Engineering.
If he had one wish for Philippine sports, Noel said it would be a first Olympic gold. He wonders why Onyok Velasco, who won a silver in boxing, never aspired for one by continuing his training.
Onyok went into show biz instead.
I never got to congratulate Noel … or even pat his back for a job well done. But I know there will be future opportunities.