The imposition of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) rule involving player classification has given pause to several players, leading to them backing out of competing for their respective teams in the Visayas leg of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
The first ever professional basketball league in the south is set to open this Friday in Alcantara with plenty of players under a cloud of uncertainty regarding their eligibility to also play in the MPBL. This comes after the league founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao came out with a memo stating that those playing in the VisMin Cup will be considered as “pros” and will then be subject to the rule that states only seven “pro” players will be allowed on each team, with only five being allowed to play in a single game.
With their eligibility in mind, forwards Enrico Llanto and Edrian Lao have backed out from competing for the ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City Heroes while KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue City’s JR Ongteco has also begged off. MJAS Zenith-Talisay City’s Tristan Albina and Jaymar Gimpayan are also set to be sidelined.
ARQ head coach Francis Auquico said the loss of Llanto and Lao, who plays for Bataan and Cebu City in the MPBL, respectively, is a huge loss for their frontcourt.
“Malaking kawalan sila sa amin. Pero we have to move forward without them and maximize the rest of our players,” said Auquico. “We expect Rino berame and Ricric Ochea to step up sa pagkawala nina Lao at Llanto.”
KCS head coach Mike Reyes said the MPBL can swiftly put an end to all the ambiguity by amending their rule.
“Alam natin lahat na ang teams sa MPBL are much stronger than the teams sa VisMin. The VisMin teams are merely tagged as professionals. Now, if MPBL can make a rule na if VisMin ka naglaro, hindi ka muna ico-consider as pro, pwede gawin ng MPBL yun eh. If they do that, mas mamahalin lalo ng mga tao ang MPBL,” said the decorated head coach. (JNP)