SOUTH COTOBATO– The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League has just accepted its 25th member from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao – Basilan – and one of the reasons behind it goes beyond basketball.
“We want to show the good side of the province,” MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes told FOX Sports Philippines. “We want to show its beauty, what it can do thru basketball.”
Basilan will be the fifth expansion team to be accepted by the MPBL from the Visayas and Mindanao area. Two teams are already playing in a preseason tournament being held here at the Polomolok Gymnasium here – the Davao Occidental Tigers and the General Santos Warriors, both of them losing their first preseason matches against Manila and Valenzuela, respectively.
Over the weekend, Basilan governor, Mujiv Hatamam, will meet MPBL founder Senator Manny Pacquiao to formalize the group’s entry in the fastest growing regional basketball league in the Philippines.
The entry of Basilan raises the number of league participants to 25, more than twice bigger when the league initially staged the event last February.
As the league opens its expanded season on June 12, fans are going to see participating teams from the country’s three island groups.
The leagues founding members are: Batangas City, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Parañaque, Navotas, Caloocan, Quezon City, Bulacan, Bataan and Imus.
But even before the Anta-Rajah Cup, the inaugural staging of the ended, teams from Luzon already applied for participation and 10 teams were able to secure spots and they were San Juan, Manila, Team Rizal, Laguna, Pampanga, Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina and Pasay.
Davao Occidental and General Santos City will be joined by Cebu, Zamboanga and the latest to join, Basilan.