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Pacquiao cracks whip on officials, players

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 04:02 AM November 13, 2019

Cracking down on individuals fixing games in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, MPBL founder and chair Sen. Manny Pacquiao filed cases against 21 people, 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 (DOJ) in violation of Presidential Decree No. 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.

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In a hastily called press conference following the filing of charges at the DOJ on 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.”

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Pacquiao named a certain Chinese national “Mr. Sung” as the mastermind of the operations with two persons identified only as “Kein” and “Emma” were fingered as go-betweens for 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.

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 and P50,000 per fixed game.

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 point shaving and two counts of game-fixing), Exe Biteng (17 counts of point shaving, 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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TAGS: Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, Pacquiao
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