New teams are flocking to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) in astonishing fashion.
From a 10-team field in the inaugural Anta Rajah Cup, there will be at least 25 teams joining the second conference, the MPBL Datu Cup, which opens on June 12.
And there are still other municipalities, provinces and cities eager to form their own rosters for the regional competition patterned after the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Despite the spiked P10-million franchise fee, Basilan is the latest LGU to join the league.
According to MPBL chief of operations Zaldy Realubit, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman will meet MPBL founder Senator Manny Pacquiao on Friday or Saturday in General Santos City to finalize the entry of the island province.
Realubit, currently in GenSan with MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes to oversee tune-up games among teams from newcomers GenSan and Davao Occidental, as well as Manila and Valenzuela, added that Cebu City will be the lone representative from the Visayas.
Other expansion teams will come from Laguna, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Pasay, Pampanga, Pasig, Rizal, San Juan and Zamboanga.
Those that competed in the Rajah Cup won by the Batangas City Athletics are runner-up Muntinlupa, Bulacan, Bataan, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Navotas, Quezon City and Imus.
Initially, the concept is for the Luzon teams and the Mindanao and Visayan teams to hold separate elimination rounds, but Pacquiao, stressing that competition should be truly national in scope, wants to have single-round robin for all the teams.
Owing to the large field, Realubit said Pacquiao is requesting broadcast partner ABS-CBN for spots six times a week, up from four spots in the first conference.
Otherwise, the elimination round for the Datu Cup will last up to next year.
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