Pacquiao, MPBL files game-fixing raps vs SOCCKSARGEN players, team execs
Sen Manny Pacquiao holds up the list of individuals who are now facing charges of game fixing and point shaving. pic.twitter.com/mmyvw37GEN
— Cedelf P. Tupas (@cedelfptINQ) November 12, 2019
MANILA, Philippines–Cracking down on individuals fixing games in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, MPBL founder and chair Sen. Manny Pacquiao filed cases against 21 persons, including 11 players from the SOCCKSARGEN team that has lost all of its games so far in the Lakan Season.
Also charged before the Department of Justice in violation of Presidential Decree 483 that penalizes betting, game fixing and point shaving in sports contests are three Chinese nationals, team managers of two MPBL teams and the head coach of the SOCCKSARGEN team.
In a hastily-called press conference following the filing of charges at the Department of Justice last Tuesday, Pacquiao said the case serves as a warning to those individuals who may continue to operate their game-fixing ring in the MPBL.
“This should serve as a serious reminder to all other teams in the MPBL that we are intolerant to any form of cheating and other unsportsmanlike behavior,” said Pacquiao in Filipino. “We formed the MPBL precisely to promote fair play in basketball so I don’t want to hear anything that would besmirch the name of the league.”
Pacquiao named a certain Chinese national “Mr. Sung” as the mastermind of the operations with two persons named only as “Kein” and “Emma” as go-between the syndicate and the teams in the league. “Mr. Sung” was charged with 17 counts of betting, point shaving and two counts of game fixing.
Pacquiao’s legal counsel Brando Viernesto said each count of point shaving or game fixing carries a sentence of two to six years. “We don’t have the complete name of Mr. Sung but the NBI knows him already and he is being pursued at the moment,” Viernesto said.
The other respondents include SOCCKSARGEN team manager Kevin Espinosa (17 counts of point shaving, two counts of game fixing), Quezon City Capitals team manager Niño Dionisio (11 counts of point shaving, 1 count of game fixing) and SOCCKSARGEN coach Ferdinand Melocoton (11 counts of point shaving and 1 count of game fixing).
The league has taken over the SOCCKSARGEN franchise and renamed it Saranggani Province. The league has also suspended the players and team officials who were allegedly involved in the operations.
Pacquiao said there is still an ongoing investigation together with the National Bureau of Investigation. The senator said he had offered a reward to people if they report scrupulous activities in the league. “There are persons who came forward and reported these activities. The NBI then took over and continued the investigation,” said Pacquiao.
League commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said he had also noticed strange patterns in SOCCKSARGEN games, prompting him to call Pacquiao’s attention. Pacquiao added that players received between P20,000 to P50,000 per game for their actions.
Also named in the complaint are Serafin Matias (11 counts of point shaving and one count of game fixing), EJ Avila (11 counts of point shaving and one count of game fixing), Nice Ilagan (eight counts of point shaving), and Sonny Uy (six counts of point shaving and two counts of game fixing).
The players charged are Jake Diwa (17 counts of game fixing and two counts of game fixing), Exe Biteng (17 counts of game fixing two counts of game fixing), Jerome Juanico (16 counts of point shaving and two counts of game fixing), Matthew Bernabe (15 counts of point shaving and two counts of game fixing), Julio Magbanua (13 counts of point shaving, two counts of game fixing), Abraham Santos (13 counts of point shaving, two counts of game fixing), John Patrick Rabe (12 counts of point shaving and two counts of game fixing), Ryan Regalado (12 counts of point shaving and two counts of game fixing), Janus Lozada (12 counts of point shaving), Joshua Alcober (12 counts of point shaving).
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