Pacquiao’s dream league comes to reality; Parañaque wins
Finally unveiling his Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) on Thursday, founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao only has big dreams for the program moving forward.
So big are those ambitions that he sees the newly founded league turning to something reminiscent of that of the NBA.
“There are lots of places which wanted to join,” he said as the league organizers opted to limit the participating teams to just 10. “Once it grows, it will be like the NBA. If they have East and West, here we can have North and South.”
MPBL’s first conference, named the Anta Rajah Cup, tipped off at the historic Big Dome with Daniel de Guzman of Parañaque scoring the league’s first basket.
The Paranaque Patriots withstood the Caloocan Supremos, 70-60, to open the festivities, with Gab Dagangon leading the way with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Also seeing action in the league are Bataan Defenders, Batangas Tanduay Athletics, Bulacan Kuyas, Imus Bandera, Muntinlupa Cagers, Navotas Clutch, Quezon City Capitals, and Valenzuela Classics.
Pacquiao couldn’t help but beam with pride seeing his dream turn into reality.
“This has been in the works for over a year, and we tried to find the formula to make this good and involve the mass in this league. The LGUs are involved and we’re including the localities here, both the cities and the provinces,” he said.
The eight division boxing world champion also believes that the MPBL will be vital in finding new gems in the local level, same as to how he got his break in the pug-fighting scene.
“I got into boxing when I was young because weekly, there were fights staged in our place. I see it the same way here, that we can do that in basketball,” said the 39-year-old public servant.
“In time, we can discover good basketball players because anybody can play here. Those who are already old but are still good can play, while the young players who are also good are given a chance, not just to play in a league but also be seen by the whole country.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.