MPBL will 'definitely' finish Lakan Cup, assures Duremdes

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2020 04:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will still finish the Lakan Cup, which was put on hold last March due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This, according to MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, who revealed plans to hold a week-long tournament in one venue to finish the season in an appearance on the "Crossover Podcast."

"That's really the plan of the league. Definitely, we will finish the Lakan Season, 'yung remaining games natin," Duremdes said.

As it stands, the best-of-3 North Division finals between the San Juan Knights and the Makati Super Crunch is tied at 1-1, as is the South Division finals between the Davao Occidental Tigers and Basilan Steel. 

The teams last played on March 11, and the next day, the MPBL announced that the playoffs were suspended indefinitely in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The MPBL has since decided to postpone its fourth season to 2021, with Duremdes citing player safety and time constraints as the reasons for their decision. 

The Lakan Season, however, will be finished at some point.

"We're planning to have one venue lang," said Duremdes, explaining their plans. "May mga hotels around it, para safe lahat. Madali i-quarantine, and madali silang mabantayan, in short."

"Although hindi 'yan mape-perfect, at least mami-minimize mo," he added. "And we have to check the guidelines talaga, truly and properly, kasi mahirap. Sablay ka diyan, patay tayo."

They will consult with medical experts and gain clearance from the Department of Health, while strictly following the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force, said Duremdes. Moreover, they will also fulfill the requirements of the local government that will host the week-long tournament.

"Marami pang titignan 'yan, marami pang aasikasuhin," he admitted.

"But definitely, the plan of the league is one venue lang tayo, kasi more or less, one-week tournament na lang 'yan eh. And given the chance, then tatapusin natin. Tatapusin natin siya," he said.

Duremdes also bared plans for a preseason tournament, but he acknowledged that all of their activities hinge on the availability of a vaccine for COVID-19.

"Ang bottom line talaga diyan, we can do everything we want -- preseason tournament, exhibition matches. But the question is the vaccine," he said. 

"Ito ngayon 'yung susi sa pandemic natin eh, 'pag may reliable talaga na gamot diyan," he added. "I believe vaccine ang solusyon."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).