The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League is as eager as the rest to finally get the ball rolling six months into the deadly pandemic.
Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes on Tuesday said the MPBL is just waiting for the go-signal from the government for amateur sports to get back to where it was when COVID-19 struck last March.
“Our (MPBL) founder, Senator Manny Pacquiao, said it’s a must for us to finish the national finals of the Lakan Season,” Duremdes, speaking in Filipino, told the online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
The tournament is down to the last four teams with San Juan and Makati in the North division, and Basilan and Davao Occidental in the South. Both best-of-threes are tied at 1-1.
The winners will move on to the best-of-five National finals.
Duremdes said the league is closely monitoring the situation, and admitted that the MPBL is keeping an eye on how the PBA is doing things as it prepares for a return to actual competition.
Because of its status as a professional league, the PBA, along with the Philippine Football League and the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 League, has been allowed to resume practices under strict protocols.
The PBA is finalizing the details of its NBA-style bubble where all 12 teams will stay for the remainder of the Philippine Cup.
Duremdes said in the session presented by San Miguel Corp. Go For Gold, MILO, Amelir Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, PAGCOR, and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as official webcast partner the MPBL is looking at a similar approach, adding that a handful LGUs (local government units) have expressed their willingness to host the final stage of the Lakan Season.
The MBPL is seriously considering an offer from former senator Jinggoy Estrada for the use of the family private property and resort in Tanay, Rizal for the MPBL and the four teams.
“It’s easy for us to set up a bubble-type tournament,” said Duremdes, noting that right on the first day of action, two teams will be eliminated and the other two moving on to the finals.
But Duremdes maintained that they have to make sure everything is in order because it’s the safety of the players and officials that is at stake.
“It’s a big mag-gamble,” he said.
“You have to be careful because if you fail, the government will might the plug not just on basketball but the other sports as well,” said the former MVP in the PBA.