THE champion squad of the upcoming Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational is set to have a very, merry Christmas as it will be receiving a whopping cash prize of P2 million courtesy of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) chief operating officer and founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
The participating teams of the event set to re-ignite the country’s top regional league were divided into four groups, with the San Juan Knights and Jumbo Plastics-Basilan seeded as top teams in Group C and B, respectively.
Joining the Go for Gold-backed Knights, the Datu Cup champions, are the Marc Pingris-led Nueva Ecija Vanguards, Sarangani Marlins, Valenzuela and Muntinlupa.
Bracketed with Basilan, winner of the first conference of the Vis-Min Super Cup, are Laguna Krah Asia, Marikina Shoe City, Makati and Bicol.
In Group A are Caloocan Excellence, Pasig and neighbor teams Bacolod, Iloilo, and league newcomer Negros Muscovados.
Completing the field are Manila Stars, Rizal Xentromall, Imus Bandera, GenSan Warriors, Mindoro EOG Sports and Bulacan in Group D.
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdres did the drawing of lots on Nov. 26 at the Crowne Plaza Ruby ballroom.
“This is not just a simple restart, we wanted our league to be at par with the best of the world,” said Mascariñas, noting that the event will apply Fiba International Basketball Federation rules.
Ever-generous, Mascariñas also announced that the second placer is going to receive P500,000 and the third placer, P250,000.
Duremdes thanked Mascariñas and the Chooks-to-Go group for their full support of the league’s return which took a long time following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Owing to the big field, five games, starting at 9 a.m. will be held each day of the eliminations at the Mall of Asia Arena.