21 charged in MPBL game-fixing

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League has filed 17 counts of game fixing complaint before the Department of Justice against 21 persons, including former Philippine Basketball Association player Kevin Espinosa, officials and players of team SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins and three Chinese nationals.

MPBL through its commissioner Kenneth Duremdes and the National Bureau of Investigation accused the respondents of committing 17 counts of betting, multiple counts of game-fixing and point shaving, as defined under Section 1 and 3 of Presidential Decree no. 483, which penalizes betting, game-fixing or point shaving and machinations in sports contests, as amended by Presidential Decree 1602.

Named respondents were SOCCSKSARGEN Marlin team owner and player Espinosa, who used to be a PBA player of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters basketball team, and team players Jake Diwa, Exequiel Biteng, Jerome Juanico, Matthew Bernabe, Julio Magbanua Jr., Abraham Santos, John Patrick Rabe, Ryan Regalado, and Ricky Morillo. 

The list of respondents also include three Chinese nationals, identified only as Mr. Sung, Kein, Emma, together with Sonny Uy, Serafin Matias, EJ Avila, Niño Dionisio, Ferdinand Melocoton, Nice Ilagan, Janus Lozada, and Joshua Alcober.

The incidents of game-fixing took place between June to October this year in several areas such as Pasay City; Pasig City; Navotas City; Caloocan City; Muntinlupa City; Batangas City; Bacoor, Cavite; Malolos, Bulacan; Angeles, Pampanga; and Bacolod City.

According to NBI agent-on-case Allein Rey Delfin, they have 11 witnesses but could not disclose their names.

Without giving a detailed explanation, Delfin said the modus operandi of the alleged game-fixing is that the players are allegedly given instructions to limit their scoring points.

This comes a week after Senator Manny Pacquiao, the chairman and founder of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, suspended the entire SOCCSKSARGEN team due to allegations of “game-fixing and other related scheming activities.’’

The MPBL chief said that this decision to suspend a team in the MPBL is a difficult one for him.

“Galit ako sa mga pandaraya sa sports,” said Pacquiao.

“We don’t have the complete name of Mr. Sung, but the NBI knows him already. He is being pursued at the moment,” said MPBL legal counsel Atty. Brando Viernesto.

Topics: Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League , Department of Justice , Kevin Espinosa , SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins , Manny Pacquiao
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