MANILA – The fourth season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will get underway on Monday at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum, and it will feature competition from twenty different teams.
Batangas City, the first winner of the MPBL, and San Juan, the winner of the Datu Cup, will lead the field of competitors in the elimination stage of the round-robin tournament.
The competition is scheduled to begin as usual on June 12; but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the schedule was changed.
As a result of the health problem, an MPBL tournament scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2020 was called off.
It was decided that the owners of the teams would get a portion of the league’s earnings for the current year as a way to assist them through this difficult time.
The other participating teams are Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Makati, Bataan, Valenzuela, Manila, Zamboanga, Imus, Bacolod, Saranggani, General Santos City, Negros Occidental, Mindoro, Pasig, Rizal, Quezon City, Marikina, and Caloocan.
Pasig, San Juan, and Rizal were initially named among the tentative teams. Quezon City, Marikina, and Caloocan requested for a leave of absence, but league founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao encouraged them to join Season 4. Pasig, San Juan, and Rizal were later removed from the list of tentative teams.
Bacoor, Laguna, Basilan, Pasay, and Bicol are the other teams that have been identified as being on the tentative side.
Cebu, Iloilo, Bulacan, Navotas, and Paranaque, as well as the reigning champion Davao Occidental, have all decided to withdraw from the competition.
During the opening ceremonies that will take place in between the two games of the doubleheader, the Davao Tigers, who won the MPBL Lakan Cup, will be honored with the presentation of their championship trophy as well as rings.
Each team will have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 24 players, with a minimum of three homegrown players and a minimum of two Filipino-foreigners who must be at least 18 years old and hold Philippine passports. Players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), players from collegiate teams with a special guest license from the Games and Amusement Board, collegiate players with special guest licenses, and at least three homegrown players will be required for each team.
On the first day of the tournament, the Batangas City Embassy Chill, led by coach Cholo Villanueva, will face off against the Imus Bandera at 9:30 p.m.
Levi Hernandez, Cedrick Ablaza, Mark Cruz, Dawn Ochea, Johnrey Villanueva, Jeckster Apinan, Wilson Baltazar, John Amboludta, Ralf Olivares, Joshua Gonzales, Darwin Lunor, Mark Dela Virgen, Jaycee Asuncion, Rudy Lingganay, Jay Manlangit, King Importante, and Jong Baloria are the members of the team. Other members include Wilson Bal
Tanduay, the owner of the team, stated that it will continue to represent the province of Batangas because its local leaders and inhabitants have shown a great deal of support for the team ever since it first entered the league.
Valenzuela will take on Sarangani in the inaugural match, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., immediately followed by the opening rituals. (PR)
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