THE Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will have some major changes once it gets back up and running next month with an invitational tournament.
With Chooks-to-Go being tapped by league founder Manny Pacquiao to take care of the league’s operations, the MPBL will undergo several changes, the most noteworthy of which is its decision to turn professional. It will also be getting accreditation from the International Basketball Federation.
“There will also be meetings with our team managers, league officials, and the Games and Amusements Board regarding this matter,” Zambrano said.
“Chooks-to-Go’s involvement is a little bit more expanded (after) coming from a title sponsorship. Now, Chooks-to-Go holds league operations,” 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, that’s what we’ll do.”
Another welcome development is the eradication of the height limit restriction for Filipino-foreigners that will participate in the league. As long as the player has a Philippine passport, he will be eligible to play.
Previously, Fil-foreigners above 6-foot-5 were not allowed to play in the league. Restrictions on the number of homegrown players and “ex-pros” have also been removed.
Commissioner Duremdes will still retain his position. And he is embracing the sweeping changes the MPBL is set to undergo.
“First of all, we are thankful to all the team owners and, of course, Chooks-to-Go, for this new partnership. We both have a common goal, which is to help our players reach their potential,” he said.
“There are players who are really struggling during the pandemic. Patience is indeed a virtue, and we’re just waiting for the right time for the MPBL to reignite its league.”
“This is the best time that’s been long awaited for by our fans and players alike,” he said.
A total of 13 teams have already given the green light on their participation for the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational Tournament set from Dec. 11 to 21 either at Caloocan Sports Complex, the Ynares Sports Arena in Antipolo, or Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
Headlining the field are Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan season champion Davao Occidental Tigers.
Also joining them are 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.
Other MPBL member teams who want to join the Invitationals were given until Nov. 10 to make their decision. The final list of participating teams will be announced on Nov. 11.
Team representatives expressed their excitement about the upcoming changes set to be made by the league.
“We are very, very happy that we can start the 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 so we can all continue for the sake of everyone. It’s nice that we will have something to end the year with on a positive note.”
“Earlier the Commissioner mentioned how the MPBL was on a hiatus. This invitational tournament is our window to start the new normal,” expressed Marikina head coach Elvis Tolentino.