MANILA, Philippines – At least 19 teams will be joining the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) fourth season targeted to open on June 12.
MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the league's resumption is contingent upon the approval of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases).
Speaking on the PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Forum on Tuesday, Duremdes admitted it would be difficult to meet the original schedule as the league is still in the process of securing the necessary permits from the government owing to last month's spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
And even if the MPBL request gets approved, Duremdes said the teams aren't allowed to practice yet with a few teams having incomplete lineups.
Derailed for a year due to the pandemic, the league completed its Chooks to Go-MPBL Lakan playoffs in a bubble setup in Subic in March with the Davao Occidental Tigers beating the San Juan Knights for the national title.
According to Duremdes, the Tigers and the Knights, the Datu Cup champions, are certain to return and renew their rivalry.
Also sure to join are the Negros Muscuvados, the league's newest and 32nd member.
A team from Las Pinas is also knocking at the MPBL doors.
If the league fails to start on June 12, Duremdes is hoping for a July or August opening.
"It's hard to give a timeline for the opening because the guidelines of the IATF changes based on the LGUs (local government units).
While the date of the MPBL resumption remains uncertain, 3 television networks have expressed interest to be the league's broadcast partner this year.
According to the source privy to negotiations, these are CNN Phils, UNTV and Beam Ch 31.