To millions of Filipinos, basketball is a way of life. But when COVID-19 hit the country, basketball stopped as well.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended the 2019-20 season indefinitely after an NBA player tested positive for coronavirus, while the rest of the sports industry took notice of the invisible threat and followed suit in postponing sporting events. In the Philippines, the COVID-19 pandemic halted not only leagues on the professional and amateur level but also commercial and casual pick-up games, taking away the source of joy for many players.
This was the backdrop of the short film produced by NBA Philippines and vivo. Entitled “Ball in the new Normal” and shot entirely on a vivo X50 Pro, the film captured Filipino fans longing to return on the court. It features the stories of four individuals who have basketball ties – actor and NBA fan Khalil Ramos, professional basketball player L.A. Tenorio, National Wheelchair Basketball Team coach Vernon Perea and college basketball player Christiana Dimaunahan – and documents their love for the game.
Additionally, the film juxtaposed the NBA announcing the resumption of the season in the Walt Disney World Resort with their individual journeys in overcoming adversity to return to play ball in the new normal.
Earlier this month, the film was recognized in the prestigious 2021 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards in three Video Awards categories, which judged entries based on forms of innovation including design, format, production, distribution, and interactivity. “Ball in the New Normal” won the Gold Stevie Award for (1) Innovation in Branded Entertainment Videos, (2) Innovation in Documentaries, and (3) Innovation in Lifestyle Videos.
The short film is a product of the multiyear marketing partnership entered by NBA and vivo in Dec. 2018 that made vivo the Official Smartphone of the NBA in the Philippines.