MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes (second from left) obliges for a photo op with Chooks To Go President Ronald Mascarinas (second from right) during the MPBL draw ceremony ( Chooks To Go MPBL Photo)
MANILA — If Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes will only have his way, he’d love to have live fans spectators when the league returns to action with the Chooks to Go MPBL Invitational tournament on Dec. 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The former Burger Machine 3-point hotshot commissioner expects a live but limited audience during games inside the 15,000-seater MOA Arena.
However, Duremdes said, the league is still trying to get the green light for this from the local government unit of Pasay City and from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
“We’re expecting (audience in the venue) as long as i-allow tayo ng LGU natin which is Pasay and of course with the approval of the IATF,” said Duremdes, one of the best shooter the defunct Philippine Basketball League ever had before.
Before the pandemic bowled over MPBL in March last year, the league usually had big crowds with its home-and-away format.
“Di pa tapos yung laban natin sa COVID ‘yun ‘yung pinaka malaking difference. Unlike ‘yung sa previous season na we’re doing the home-and-away format so more on engagement sa mga fans, napakaraming nanonood,” Duremdes starssed in an interview with mainstream media Manila Bulletin.
“Ngayon limited but hopefully sa Pasay LGU bigyan tayo ng kaunting crowd para naman masaya yung mga laro natin,” adding that if MPBL gets the green light, games will be free for live audiences who are fully vaccinated.
The commissioner added that a total of 22 teams are set to battle it out in the 13-day pocket tournament with the winner getting the P2 million cash prize.
Second and third placers, meanwhile, will have P500,000 and P250,000 respectively. The invitational also adapted the FIBA format where the top two teams of each of the four groups will advance in the quarterfinals and the playoffs which will be in a single-elimination bracket.
It was also gathered that several Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) stars like best defender and rebounder Marc Pingris will be seeing action for Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards when the league reopens on December 11, 2021 at MOA.