ABS-CBN Sports hosts say goodbye to 'UTown' and 'Upfront'


Posted at Aug 21 2020 04:27 PM

ABS-CBN Sports hosts say goodbye to 'UTown' and 'Upfront' 1

MANILA -- The hosts of ABS-CBN Sports shows "University Town" (UTown) and "Upfront" bid goodbye to their shows that made an impact on their lives.

For Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho, who co-hosted "UTown" for four seasons, doing the show was always a revitalizing experience as it brought them back to their days as students.

"Whenever I see the students and organizations in that school, not only do I get reminded of my moments on campus but also I get reminded of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations," Domingo said of their program, which highlighted the culture, achievements, notable alumni, and students from each UAAP campus.

"We get to immerse in university life again by talking with the students. It honestly feels like a playground where we have fun," added Gretchen.

Ho, a former student-athlete, honed her hosting chops in ABS-CBN Sports, just like her fellow Lady Eagle Alyssa Valdez, who joined the show in Season 3. 

"The Phenom" also landed a hosting gig with "Upfront," ABS-CBN Sports' award-winning sports lifestyle program.

"My experiences in 'Upfront' and 'UTown' helped me gain my confidence and taught me that with hard work, I could learn anything and be good at something I never thought of," said Valdez.

For his part, University of the Philippines' high-flyer Ricci Rivero also got to explore a passion outside basketball as a segment host for "Upfront."

"I enjoyed hosting! My stint with 'Upfront' made me more comfortable in front of the camera and became more spontaneous," he said.

Guiding Valdez and Rivero in their transition were "Upfront" hosts Martin Javier, Angelique Manto, Turs Daza, and Janeena Chan, who are all thankful for their experience leading the show, which first began as a pre-game and halftime program for UAAP Season 78 in 2015. 

For Javier and Manto, being part of the "Upfront" squad is a fulfilling experience, as both honed their talents and nurtured themselves under the guidance of ABS-CBN Sports.

"For the past four years, I've been privileged to bring you the action from the sidelines to your television screens. From not making the cut in my courtside audition to covering games in the biggest venues, it has been a rollercoaster ride. I'll always be honored to be part of this family," said Javier, who has also become part of the broadcast panel for NCAA, UAAP, and MPBL.

Manto, a former UAAP courtside reporter, added, "I got to explore and grow my passion for my craft, and I got to fulfill promises for my late father. I will not be who I am today if not for the lessons, trust, and guidance of every single person I have worked with at S+A."

As for Daza, his time in "Upfront" will always be memorable as he believes the program will leave a lasting legacy in the sports community. 

"It gave fans the opportunity to see their sports idols as real people with interests, styles, and personalities. The legacy of 'Upfront' is similar to that of ABS CBN, to bring viewers closer to their idols," he explained. 

Chan, the show's remaining original host, paid tribute to the people she worked with for their efforts to make the program impactful and thanking them for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of the Upfront squad.

"It's been a huge honor to have started and ended the story of 'Upfront' from day one, and I'd like to say a huge thank you to our amazing bosses, producers, directors, staff, and the entire team for taking a chance on me! 'Upfront' is truly one of my life's biggest blessings!" Janeena said.

With the curtains about to close for ABS-CBN Sports, Javier, Chan, Daza, and Manto will take a stroll back to memory lane with the "Best of Upfront" finale episode featuring the most talked about moments with athletes in segments like Upfront Swag, Challenge Accepted, Squad Goals, 10 Things, What's in My Bag, and Upfront Trending. 

Watch it on Thursday, August 27, at 8 a.m. with replays at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., on LIGA and LIGA HD. 

Meanwhile, viewers can rewatch the segments of "UTown" online via ABS-CBN Sports' official YouTube channel and on iWant.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.