After a year of hiatus, MPBL raring to get back into action; Lakan Season playoffs in Subic ‘bubble’

THE MAHARLIKA PILIPINAS BASKETBALL LEAGUE returns to action on Wednesday after a year-long, pandemic-induced break with do-or-die division finals matches in a bubble in Subic. — MPBL

FOLLOWING a year-long pandemic-induced break to action, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) resumes its Lakan Season on Wednesday in a “bubble” setup at Subic, Zambales.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes shared that the league is now ready to get back and finish the stalled tournament, which was in the homestretch of the playoffs last year when it was suspended.

“The MPBL is now 100% ready to resume. Admittedly, this is all new for us. The bubble is a first for the league, the players and the other participants. We are ready but of course we cannot be complacent,” said Mr. Duremdes.

“We’re happy to be back. The teams really made an effort to be able to play in the bubble and I am sure it was not easy for them because of the pandemic. We really appreciate their commitment despite the challenges,” he added.

The MPBL resumes with the Game Three rubber matches in the division championships to be followed by the best-of-five series for the national title beginning on March 12.

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The San Juan Knights are up against the Makati Super Crunch in the North Division finals, while the Davao Occidental Tigers are battling the Basilan Steel in the South Division. Both series are tied at 1-1.

All the teams entered the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority bubble the past week and are following strict health and safety protocols as stipulated by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) when it gave the go-ahead for the tournament to resume.

Mr. Duremdes, a former Philippine Basketball Association most valuable player, shared that much effort and resources were put into the league return, which is why they are making sure that they cover everything needed to ensure the safety of all participants and for the season to be concluded accordingly.

The MPBL commissioner is in the bubble along with other officials to oversee the proceedings.

The teams will play in a win-or- go home double-header on Wednesday with the losing team leaving the bubble after.

The division champs then collide in the national finals starting on Friday. Game Two is on March 14, while Game Three is on March 16. If necessary, Game Four will be held on March 18 and Game Five on March 20.

All matches will be played behind closed doors.

Games will be shown live over the league’s Facebook page and on A2Z Channel 11. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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