MPBL finals to push thru

April 23, 2020
Kenneth Duremdes
Duremdes remains optimistic.

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) painted a positive outlook with the worldwide battle against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now on its sixth week.

MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the MPBL Lakan Season will push through with its division and national finals as soon as possible.

“We’re going to finish the third (Lakan) 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.”

Asked about the exact date of 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.

He said the MPBL is wsiting for President Duterte's formal announcement on whether the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), in effect until April 30, will be lifted, extended, or modified.

Duremdes said there are a lot of issues to be tackled before the MPBL can resume.

“First, we need to talk to the four finalists -- San Juan Knights, Makati Super Crunch, Davao Occidental Tigers, Basilan Steel -- since they are all coming from inactivity and their players need to get back in shape,” said Duremdes.

“We also need to consider the stand of the LGUs (local government units).

Duremdes will also consider other factors, including land travel, resumption of domestic flights, sea travel, and the availability of hotels, restaurants and game venues.

“We can even 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, leading to Game 3 deciders.

San Juandefeated  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.

In the South, 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 fymnasium.

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

The Batangas City Tanduay Athletics ruled the inaugural MPBL Anta Rajah Cup participated in by 10 teams, while the San Juan Knights emerged champions of the 26-team Datu Cup.

Now boasting 31 teams, MPBL is supposed to open its fourth season on June 12, but it will be moved back sue to recent developments.

MPBL founder and CEO Sen. Manny Pacquiao is also bent on finishing the Lakan Season once COVID-19 is over.