A BUNCH of late entrants padded to 22 teams the participants of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Invitational set December 11 to 21 most probably at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes bared this on Tuesday when he appeared as a guest of the PSA Online Sports Forum.
Initially, only 13 teams committed to join the tournament, the conduct of which will be handled by Chooks-to-Go.
Composing the final roster are newcomer Negros Mascuvados, Datu Cup champion San Juan, Laguna, Caloocan, Sarangani, Bicol, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Imus, Makati, General Santos, Bacolod, Marikina, Iloilo, Muntinlupa, Bacoor, Manila, Pasig, Valenzuela, Mindoro, Bulacan and Basilan.
According to Duremdes, the Invitational, which intends to re-ignite the country’s top regional league after a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be under the supervision of the GAB (Games and Amusements Board) and will be monitored by FIBA (International Basketball Federation).
If allowed by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), a limited audience will be allowed to watch the games live starting at 9 a.m.
“We’re ready (to restart),” said Duremdes. “The time is right. The teams are ready and the players are in shape, basketball-game ready.”
In adherence to health protocols, Duremdes said the tournament will adopt the closed-circuit format, with the players and officials, all of whom must be fully vaccinated, restricted in movement from their homes to venue, and vice versa.
Collegiate stars and national players will be allowed to play by way of the GAB’s special guest licenses, added Duremdes, a former top player himself during the weekly forum sponsored by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Daily Tribune, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
With Chooks-to-Go, headed by Ronald Mascarinas, give n an expanded role by MPBL founder and CEO Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the league will hold a pre-season tournament in February next year in preparation for the regular season which starts on June 12.