Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr., team owner of newly crowned Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) inaugural conference champion Batangas City – Tanduay Athletics is upbeat with the future of the fast-growing regional-format cage league.
Tan, the president of Tanduay Distillers, Inc., admitted that he had a lengthy discussion with MPBL founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao before coming on board and he stressed the importance of the “one owner, one team policy” and how it will ensure fairness in the league.
“Naalala ko nung mag-usap kami ni Senator Manny, nung nagpaplano pa lang sila ng tournament, sabi ko ‘Sige subukan natin, support lang kami, kung makakuha tayo ng 10 teams, OK na yan,’” said Tan.
“Basta ang hiningi ko sa kanila is play fair tapos walang isang may ari na 2, 3 teams. Mahirap ang ganun. Parang sa ibang liga. Magulo yun. Saka senator sabi ko huwag nating pasukan ng pulitika. Kapag basketball, basketball,” he added.
After winning the inaugural title, the amiable son of billionaire Lucio Tan, Sr., came up with a slew of suggestions addressed to Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes to further improve the fledgling league.
“Ang ganda ng start natin mayroon na tayong sense of home. Although marami tayong kelangang i-improve, number 1 yung mga venues. Yung ibang venues walang aircon, security. Pati yung mga locker rooms, sabi ni commissioner i-improve nila yan,” explained Tan.
The 2nd conference kicks off on June 12 with 20 teams from Luzon and possibly 8 from the Visayas-Mindanao region.