MPBL set to turn professional, scraps Fil-foreigner restrictions

As the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League plots its way back on track, a significant change is about to occur in the league.

MPBL is currently held by Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas, the league behind the only professional 3×3 basketball league in the nation, as they were appointed by league founder Manny Pacquiao to manage the operations.

“Ang involvement po ng Chooks-to-Go is a little bit more expanded coming from a title sponsorship. Now, ang hawak na po ng Chooks-to-Go ay ang operations of the league,” said Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas spokesperson Mark Zambrano. “This will still be done in cooperation and partnership with both our league founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao and the office of commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.”

“There will be changes but these changes will all be good for the league. Side-by-side, yun po ang gagawin natin,” he added.

Height restrictions for Filipino-foreigners players who will play in the league have been lifted and they have the right to play as long as they carry a Philippine passport.

Fil-foreigners above 6-foot-5 could not play before in the league.

The limitations on the amount of local and former professional players have been abolished as well.

The Philippines’ Men’s regional league is also on the verge of turning pro and be accredited by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

“There will also be meetings with our team managers, league officials, and the Games and Amusements Board regarding this matter,” Zambrano stated.

Kenneth Duremdes will remain as the MPBL’s commissioner and he is pleased with the massive changes the league is set to experience.

“Unang-una, nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat ng team owners na dumalo and, of course, sa Chooks-to-Go na nagkaroon tayo ng panibagong partnership. We both have a common goal which is to help our players reach their potential,” Duremdes said. “May mga players na nag-struggle talaga this pandemic. Patience is a virtue talaga at naghintay ng tamang panahon ang MPBL para ma-reignite ang ating liga.

“This is the best time na matagal ng hinihintay ng ating mga fans at ng ating mga players,” he added.

The Chooks-to-Go MPBL already have 13 teams competing in the Invitational Tournament featuring the Lakan season champion Davao Occidental Tigers. The tournament will take place in December 11-21 at the Caloocan Sports Complex, the Ynares Sports Center, or Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

Teams such as the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, the Makati Super Crunch, the GenSan Warriors, the Caloocan Supremos, the Sarangani Marlins, the Rizal Golden Coolers-Xentro Mall, the Marikina Shoemasters, the Laguna Heroes, the Bicol Volcanoes, the Imus Bandera, the Negros Mascuvados, and a team from Bacolod will also participate in the competition.

Other MPBL squads interested in joining the contest have until Wednesday afternoon to decide. The full list of participating clubs will be unveiled on Thursday.

The team representatives are enthusiastic with the upcoming changes that will be implemented by the league.

“We are very, very happy na makakapag-start na ang league with the partnership of Chooks and the MPBL,” said Makati team owner Paolo Orbeta.

“We would like to let everyone know that we are aligned with the goals of Chooks-to-Go MPBL. We needed this start para magtuloy-tuloy na for everyone. Maganda na we will have something to end the year on a positive note.” he added.

“Kanina nga nabanggit ni Commissioner na ang tagal ng nawala yung MPBL. Yung invitational tournament natin is our window to start the new normal,” said Marikina head coach Elvis Tolentino.

“We are excited sa balik bola ng Chooks-to-Go and MPBL. It’s been two long years,” expressed Rizal team manager Angie Azores. “Sobrang dami naming natatanggap ng inquiries from the players. We are happy to be able to help them again and bring them back to the sport that they love.”

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