MANILA, Philippines -- The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will finally resume its Lakan Cup on Wednesday, when it holds the do-or-die games of its Division Finals in a bubble in Subic Bay.
The league was forced to stop its Division Finals in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the stoppage, Basilan and Davao Occidental were tied at 1-1 in the South Finals, and Makati and San Juan were similarly tied at 1-1 in the North Finals.
All four teams are already in Subic, with San Juan and Davao Occidental already clearing the quarantine protocols after arriving last Friday. Makati and Basilan arrived Monday and are waiting for the results of their swab tests.
"The MPBL is ready, 100% na," said commissioner Kenneth Duremdes during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning.
They are following the strict protocols imposed by the local government, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Inter-Agency Task Force. They also have an infectious disease doctor and a league physician inside the bubble.
"Napaka-strict po ng guidelines ng DOH," said Duremdes. "So kung ano man 'yung nakalagay doon sa guidelines kaya tayo pinayagan, any moment po na talagang may nakita silang violation or breaking the protocols, anytime po, pwedeng i-cancel 'yung game. Ganoon po kahigpit."
So far, everything is on track for the league's resumption on Wednesday, starting with the Basilan-Davao Occidental clash at 4 p.m. The do-or-die game between San Juan and Makati will follow at 7 p.m.
The loser of both games will exit the bubble, while the best-of-five finals will start on March 12.
"Biruin mo 'pag natalo ka, ang daming prosesong dinaanan mo, isang laro ka lang, uwi ka na," noted Duremdes.
Each team was allowed to bring only a maximum of 22 persons in their contingent. According to Duremdes, there are approximately 100 persons in the entire MPBL delegation.
After the Lakan Cup, the MPBL will then prepare for its next season that is tentatively scheduled to start on June 12. This still depends on the current COVID-19 situation in the country, according to Duremdes.
"Usually naman, June 12 'yung opening ng season palagi. Ang titingnan lang natin diyan, again, ang magiging takbo ng decision ng government, kasi hindi natin alam," he said.
The first game will be shown live on A2Z, while the second game is to be aired on Facebook live.
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