DUBAI: It’s final. Sen. Manny Pacquiao will be in Dubai this September for a fun exhibition game with the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
This was confirmed to The Filipino Times by MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, himself a retired professional player with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) known back in the day as “Captain Marbel” and was 1998 PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP).
“Yes, its true na MPBL is coming this September 27 for a series of games. Based dun sa napagkasunduan, Sen. Manny will come and play for the exhibition games and then after that yung regular games ng MPBL,” Duremdes told TFT during a meeting in their suite at Novotel Hotel in Al Barsha.
Also playing, said Duremdes are Rep.-elect Bobby Pacquiao who won in the recent midterm polls under the OFW party-list entry; and Rudy “The Destroyer” Distrito, also a retired PBA player who back in the day was known for his rugged and intensive play.
Duremdes this is a chance for basketball aficionados and fans of Sen. Pacquiao to be up close with the boxing champ.
“The senator is a very competitive person and siryoso yun sa basketball,” he said.
Duremdes added: “Sa mga kababayan natin dito sa Dubai tuloy na po Sept. 27 ang games. Suportahan po ninyo. This is the chance na magkita-kita tayo, makita si Sen. Manny in person playing basketball para maiba naman kasi lagi na lang syang nakikitang nagbo-boxing.”
Duremdes signed the memorandum of agreement with representatives of the organizing DJMC on Friday, June 15.
According to a Rappler report, set to play in Dubai are the Davao Occidental Tigers and the Imus Bandera, with a third team yet to be named, which will be part of the Lakandula Cup regular schedule.
The Tigers, being supported by Cocolife, emerged South division champions of the MPBL Datu Cup and have a solid Mindanao fan base.
The Bandera, on the other hand, is sure to attract overseas Filipino workers with actor Gerald Anderson and 2009 PBA MVP Jayjay Helterbrand in their roster.
According to Duremdes, the MPBL is still waiting for the organizers to choose the third team, with the Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay among the strong candidates.
Also on the calendar of the league, which was founded by Sen. Pacquiao are games in Oman.
Going overseas is among the great strides the MPBL has made in just 3 seasons.
From an initial cast of 10 teams in the inaugural Raja Cup, the league expanded to 26 teams in the Datu Cup, and to 31 in the ongoing Lakandula Cup