MPBL OFFERS HOPE TO GRASSROOTS BASKETBALL HOPEFULS
By Aquiles Z. Zonio
Wed, 21 Feb 2018
SENATOR Manny Pacquiao loves basketball more than boxing.
Albeit, boxing is his bread and butter, basketball was his first love in the field of sports.
The world’s one and only eight-division boxing champ hasn’t stop from exploring other fields of sports discipline.
Aside from boxing and basketball, Pacquiao is also fond of playing chess, dart and billiard.
His strong desire to help skilled and talented basketball players from the countryside inspired him to envision the creation of a new league.
After more than a year of conceptualization, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) was born and was formally launched late last month.
MPBL offers a new hope to grassroots basketball hopefuls, out-of-school youths and college players who applied for the draft but failed to make it to the country’s oldest basketball league.
“I studied the concept for more than a year. Less than a month since its inception, I’m satisfied with what MPBL has, so far, achieved,” Pacquiao said.
Gaining a foothold…
MPBL started its Anta Rajah cup in the last week of January with just 10 teams participating.
The tournament format is single round-robin.
After the elimination round, the remaining top eight teams will face each other in the best-of-3 play-off series with the number one team facing the number eight, just like the NBA play-off tournament setup.
The top four teams will compete in the best-of-3 semi-final round then the top two teams will vie for the championship title in the best-of-5 final series.
All franchises are based on geographic locale, so they are scheduled to play in "home stadium" and away.
Pacquiao is quite amazed that wherever MPBL goes to play, the gym is filled to the rafters.
“The home crowd is so passionate and amazing. They came in droves to support their home team,” Pacquiao bared.
MPBL games are shown live every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday starting 7:00 p.m. up over Sports & Action channel of ABS-CBN.
“The reason why MPBL is gaining huge following is because of strong local support. Participating MPBL teams were created by the local government units,” Pacquiao further revealed.
The teams currently competing in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup are Quezon City, Navotas, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Bataan, Bulacan, Batangas and Imus.
Other LGUs from Luzon which signified interest to join in the league include San Juan, Pasay, Makati, Manila, Pasig, Tarlac, Naga, Pampanga, La Union and Dasmarinas (Cavite).
Eight LGUs from Visayas and two other from Mindanao had also informed MPBL management about their intention to join in MPBL league next season.
The list of MPBL sponsors is growing. This include San Miguel Beer, Jollibee, McDonalds, ZHK, Procter & Gamble, Tanduay Rhum, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Motolite, Davies Paint and BDO.
There’s more to MPBL than just a mere basketball league or sports entertainment stage.
“There are many talented basketball players particularly in the countryside. The problem is, they were not given the chance to showcase their skills in a bigger arena,” Pacquiao said.
Many of these local talents, Pacquiao said, are out-of-school youths, college players and members of cultural communities.
“Through MPBL, local talents will finally find a venue where they can highlight their basketball prowess,” Pacquiao said.
Straight & no-nonsense guys…
The boxing icon and MPBL founder had appointed honest, straight and no-nonsense guys to steer MPBL towards the right direction.
Pacquiao’s trusted MPBL point men are made of a sterner stuff. They are endowed with strong character, talent and experience.
Kenneth Duremdes, MPBL head commissioner, was a two-time most valuable player during his PBA stint.
Despite his achievements, Duremdes remains self-effacing and approachable. Known for his monicker Captain Marvel, Duremdes’ honesty and loyalty are beyond reproach.
Zaldy Realubit, holder of two PBA championship rings, is also a decent and down-to-earth man.
The duo earned the respect and confidence of Pacquiao primarily because of their probity and proven ability.
Pacquiao said this is now the chance of every participating LGU to showcase the beauty and potentials of their place.
“During halftime break, local officials are interviewed by the S&A reporters regarding the profile of their place. So, it’s a good publicity and exposure for the LGUs participating in the league,” Pacquiao said.
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