Pacquiao says rule meant to protect local players
(UPDATED) The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) said on Wednesday that it still needs to check whether Ray Parks Jr. qualifies as a homegrown player or not.
“Inaantay muna natin ang papers niya to make sure kung pasok siya sa criteria natin,” MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said at the sidelines of the league’s meeting with team owners at Raffles Makati.
The MPBL is enforcing a rule limiting each team to just one so-called “Fil-foreign” player with a height ceiling of 6-foot-4.
Duremdes said the policy, met with rebuke by current and retired PBA players, will stay for now to prioritize players born in the Philippines.
“Hindi lang naman ito kay Parks lang, the same goes to other Fil-foreign players who want to join the league,” he said.
Parks, who has represented the Philippines in international basketball competition, is set to join the Mandaluyong El Tigre together with fellow Alab Pilipinas player and US-born Filipino player Lawrence Domingo.
Manny Pacquiao said he welcomes Parks and other new players such as Gerald Anderson.
“P’wede naman siyang maglaro (si Parks). Excited ang mga taong mapanood siya sa MPBL. Also Gerald Anderson, excited din ang mga taga-Marikina,” said the MPBL founder, who emphasized that in Parks’ case the new bylaw will be enforced.
“We limit Fil-Ams to play. We’ll strictly implement rules and regulations para proteksyonan ang mga local players.”
A total of 24 teams will be competing in the coming MPBL conference, a massive jump from the initial roster of squads.
“From 10 teams naging 24 tayo,” said Duremdes. “Ganu’n na pala ka-excited ang mga fans sa ‘tin.”
“Ibig sabihin inaabangan ang liga natin and it will grow more.”
The commissioner said the purpose of Wednesday’s meeting with the team owners is to map out the format for the league.
“May different plans na kaming inilatag. Gusto sana namin na maglaban-laban lahat ng 24 teams from north to south,” he said.
Pacquiao said the league will be raffling off 26 motorcycles (should Santa Rosa, Laguna and Basilan be formally included in the league) and a brand new car on the opening day of the Datu Cup on June 12.
He also said the trophy for the next conference will be an expensive one, worth P9 million.
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