At least 24 teams to do battle in MPBL’s second conference

At least 24 teams to do battle in MPBL’s second conference
The MPBL is getting bigger and better heading into its second conference

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) is just getting started in its aim of giving a bigger stage for players from all over the country the chance to shine.

And now, the upstart league will have a 24-strong stable of squads all ready and raring to push it farther.

“The vision of the league is to give a chance to homegrown players. Now may 24 teams tayo, we’re still striving to be a place for many more homegrown players,” commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said in the league-wide owners’ meeting on Wednesday at the Raffles Hotel in Makati.

Last month, the MPBL closed the curtain on what was a successful first conference with the Batangas Athletics topping nine other teams to win the league’s inaugural championship.

Then, the Bataan Defenders (now Risers), Bulacan Kuyas, Caloocan Supremos, Imus Bandera, Muntinlupa Cagers, Navotas Clutch, Paranaque Patriots, Quezon City Capitals, and Valenzuela Classic rounded out the leaderboard.

Now, at least 14 new squads will be challenging both Batangas and the already established league hierarchy.

Joining the MPBL are the the Cebu Sharks, Davao Occidental Tigers, General Santos Warriors, Laguna Heroes, Makati Skyscrapers, Mandaluyong El Tigre, Manila Stars, Pasay Voyagers, Pampanga Lanterns, Pasig Pirates, San Juan Knights, and Zamboanga Valientes.

Rizal and Marikina are also new members of the league, but their monickers are yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Basilan and Sta. Rosa have also signified their intent to compete, but their memberships are yet to be finalized.

Whatever the final number of teams is, Duremdes has no doubt that the league will only be bigger and better in its second conference tipping off in June. “You can expect every game to be a full-packed game. Yun yung naging initial success ng liga - yung nakakalaro yung sinasabi nating local heroes,” he said.

League owners are still discussing the format, scheduling, and venues of the tournament as of press time.

What’s sure is that the games will all be in Luzon. “Big thanks to our teams from the south kasi they all agreed na yung games nila, Luzon muna,” the commissioner said.

If and when any from Cebu, Davao Occidental, General Santos, or Zamboanga make the playoffs, though, then the MPBL will have to consider granting them home games. “Kung nakapasok sila ng playoffs, who knows, yun yung chance nila to host home games,” Duremdes remarked.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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