Duremdes: MPBL finals to go on

April 23, 2020

The Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season will push through with its stalled division and national finals.

League commissioner Kenneth Duremdes gave this assurance Wednesday to quash speculations the league is going to cancel the remaining games of its third season in the wake of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

As to when will be the resumption of the division finals, Duremdes said it will depend on the national government’s decision on easing up restrictions on the staging of public gatherings, including sports events.

“We’re going to finish the season, said Duremdes, who is holed up in his hometown of Koronadal, South Cotabato. “We’re just waiting for the clearance of the national government.”

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to announce whether the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, in effect until April 30, will be lifted, extended, or modified.

Though the consensus is a modified ECQ will be implemented, Duremdes said there are a lot of issues to be tackled before the MPBL can resume.

“First, we need to advise the four teams (San Juan-Go for Gold, Makati Super Crunch, Davao Occidental-Cocolife, Basilan-Jumbo Plastic) involved since they are all coming from inactivity and the players need to get back in shape,” said Duremdes.

“Then we need to consider the stand of the LGUs (local government units)."

Other factors to be considered, according to Duremdes, are land travel, resumption of domestic flights, sea travel, and the availability of hotels, restaurants, and game venues.

“We can play as soon as the ECQ is lifted but behind closed doors,” said Duremdes.

“Hopefully the situation brightens up.”

Both the South division finals between San Juan and Makati and the North division finals between Davao and Basilan are tied at 1-1, forging Game 3 deciders.

San Juan beat Makati, 76-60, in their series opener but Makati rebounded with a 91-88 victory in Game 2 held behind closed doors at FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Basilan edged Davao, 74-72, in Game 1 in Tagum City, but Davao equalized with an 81-76 triumph in Game 2 held at the jampacked Lamitan City Gymnasium.

The division winners will dispute the Chooks-to-Go-backed Lakan Season national crown in a best-of-five series.

Batangas-Tanduay ruled the inaugural MPBL Anta Rajah Cup participated in by 10 teams, while the San Juan-Go for Gold emerged champion of the 26-team Datu Cup.

Now boasting 31 teams, MPBL was supposed to open its fourth season, which will still be backed by Chooks-to-Go, on June 12, but it will be moved back owing to recent developments.

Like Duremdes, MPBL founder and CEO (chief executive officer) Sen. Manny Pacquiao is also bent on finishing the Lakan Season once the coronavirus gets contained.