MANILA, Philippines -- The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) has no intention of following in the footsteps of the National Basketball League (NBL) by turning professional, its commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said.
During his appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, Duremdes said that turning professional will "defeat our purpose" of the MPBL as a league.
"We will remain as an amateur league dahil ang purpose natin is to give more exposure sa mga amateur players natin," he explained.
"Naniniwala kami sa homegrown talent na nadi-discover pa natin all over the Philippines, and mabigyan (sila) ng magandang exposure and makapagbigay ng maraming trabaho and opportunities sa mga players."
"'Yun talaga ang main reason na nagkaroon ng MPBL."
Launched in August 2017, the first season of the MPBL kicked off in January 2018 with 10 teams competing. It quickly expanded, growing to 26 teams for the next conference. A total of 31 teams competed in the 2019 Lakan Season.
The league puts emphasis on homegrown players while also serving as a landing spot for former professionals whose contracts in the PBA have expired. No imports can play in the MPBL.
Duremdes said the league takes pride in discovering amateur talent who may not have been given an opportunity to showcase their skills before. He is especially proud of unearthing gems at the barangay level and giving them a platform to prove themselves on a national scale.
"We'll enjoy for the moment 'yung mga amateur na na-discover natin at nabigyan ng chance," he said.
At the moment, two professional leagues in the PBA and the NBL are enough, added Duremdes.
"We'll remain as an amateur league," he stressed.
The NBL, together with the Women's National Basketball League, received approval from the Games and Amusements Board to turn professional in late August.