Pacquiao expects brainchild MPBL to reach 20 teams

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Senator Manny Pacquiao’s fledgling league, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, started with a bang on Thursday night at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The commercial league began with a parade of colors. He also raffled off 10 motorcyles on top of a brand new Suzuki Swift in between games.

Pacquiao expects the MPBL to grow bigger after its inaugural season which will see 10 teams based all over the country in action.

“Maraming gustong sumali, pero na-set up na kasi. Gawa na yung program. Susunod na lang sila. Maraming gusto, tingin ko aabot pa yan ng 20 teams,” Pacquiao said.

“Kapag dumami yan, magiging parang NBA style. Yung NBA may East and West, sa atin naman, South and North.

“Maganda ito kasi lugar by lugar. Like yung Tanduay, Batangas sila. Ang kaibahan nito sa MBA, involved yung mga LGUs (local government units). Lugar sa lugar. Yung MBA kasi, parang companies din sila, pero ito talaga yung lugar. Para siyang NBA style. Sa NBA, kapag Golden State, San Francisco, LA, Lakers or Clippers. Itong sa atin, city or province.

“Matagal ko rin binuo ito, mahigit isang taon. Yung formula na binuo natin, kung paano natin mapapaganda at mai-involve yung mamamayan natin sa basketball, sa liga na ito, yun ang naisip ko.”

Several provinces and cities have already expressed interest in participating next conference, according to Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

“We had already received feelers, particularly in the South. Sina Al Solis and Bonel Balingit yung contact namin doon and sinabi nga sa amin na matagal na walang liga doon sa Cebu,” Duremdes said.

Participating in the MPBL’s first season are the Bataan Defenders, Batangas Tanduay Athletics, Bulacan Kuyas, Caloocan Supremos, Imus Bandera, Muntinlupa Cagers, Navotas Clutch, Paranaque Patriots, Quezon City Capitals and Valenzuela Classics.