MPBL Lakan Cup ready to blast off on ABS-CBN S+A, LIGA, iWant Sports
The fast-rising league, which now has 31 teams from all over the Philippines, will offer a double-header on opening day featuring the Basilan Steel versus newcomer Bicol Volcanoes at 6 pm to be followed by the Davao Occidental Tigers match against the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines at 8 pm. For the MPBL Lakan Cup, a total of 31 teams are competing including newcomers Nueva Ecija, Bicol, and Mindoro from Luzon, Iloilo for Visayas, and Sarangani from Mindanao. Mandaluyong El-Tigre, meanwhile, will be on leave this year. The last two years saw the meteoric rise of the MPBL, dubbed the “Liga Ng Bawat Pilipino,” with teams representing Filipino towns or provinces, and featuring homegrown and undiscovered talents in basketball. Its home and away format has been a hit among basketball fans, who would fill stadiums and coliseums to show support for their home squads and favorite athletes. The athletes themselves are all in on the league and its fans. “It’s different when we get to represent our respective hometowns, as a homegrown player myself for Bacoor, our cities. There’s more at stake with the fans filling up the arena and cheering for us,” shared Datu Cup MVP Gab Banal of the Bacoor Strikers. For Arvin Tolentino, who graduated from the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and will now play for the Batangas Athletics, it will be another step in trying to improve as a player. “I’m looking at the MPBL as a means to improve myself and to go up against the players I used to watch on TV, or played against, like Alvin Pasaol,” the Batangas swingman said in an interview.