MANILA -- Manny Pacquiao admitted that he couldn't help but feel proud to see how far the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) has come.
The MPBL, Pacquiao's brainchild, is enjoying its third run since it was officially launched as a semi-pro league back in 2017. From 10 teams, the league has been divided to the North and South divisions after growing to 31 ball clubs.
"I'm so happy because what I planned a few years ago has become very successful with the support of the fans," Pacquiao, who also played in the PBA, said during his visit to ABS-CBN on Sunday.
Pacquiao said the secret to the league's success is that it leans toward local players. Although Fil-foreign players are allowed to play, teams were given limits to give way to homegrown ballers.
"Ito ay liga ng bawat Pilipino. We give time for local players para makapaglaro. Nilimitahan lang namin ang mga Fil-Am na makapaglaro para mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga locals," he said.
Pacquiao is personally expected to attend MPBL games now that he is taking a brief rest from boxing and won't be fighting until early 2020.
He said this is his way of thanking the fans who troop to the venues just to watch their home teams play.
"Pumupunta ako dahil gusto kong pasalamatan ang mga fans," Pacquiao said. "Nandoon din ako to supervise also, make sure na lahat ng galaw tama at walang magiging hadlang para sa tuloy tuloy na pagsuporta sa liga."
San Juan Knights, who won the previous season, is currently leading the North with 7 straight wins, while the Bacoor City Strikers is dominant in the South with a 6-1 slate.
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