MANILA (UPDATE) - Senator Manny Pacquiao has suspended a team in the basketball league he founded amid allegations that the team was involved in "game-fixing and other related scheming activities."
Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the whole SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins Team has been suspended on Pacquiao's orders.
MPBL said Pacquiao and the MPBL management had to take drastic actions to protect the integrity of the league.
"This should serve as a serious reminder to all other teams in the MPBL that we are intolerant to any form of cheating and other unsportsmanlike behavior. We formed MPBL precisely to promote fair play in basketball so I don't want to hear anything that would besmirch the name of the league," Pacquiao said in a statement issued by the MPBL.
Pacquiao said the National Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe into the allegations.
He said that he will be taking over the management of the SOCCSKSARGEN team to remove those involved in game-fixing.
The names of the people involved will be revealed soon, he said.
"Sisiguraduhin ko makukulong sila at para sa mga nagbabalak pa na gawin ito, mag isip-isip kayo,” Pacquiao said.
"MPBL will thereafter pursue criminal charges against any person found to have participated in game-fixing and other scheming activities that have affected the results of the games," Duremdes said in memo to SOCCSKSARGEN Team dated Oct. 25.
Pacquiao's chief of staff, Jake Joson, said the senator is disgusted with the alleged game-fixing in the league.
"MPBL is not tolerating any form of gambling especially game fixing... malaman personal ng mga team owners and players yan at dapat lang pangalanan nila yan para maisama natin sa investigation," Joson told ABS-CBN News.
“Right now magpapatawag ng team owners' meeting si Sen. MP at pag-uusapan bagong dagdag na by-laws ng MPBL at mag-assign si Sen. MP ng over-all in charge sa MPBL," Joson said.
As of Oct. 25, SOCCSKSARGEN was 0-18 in the MPBL, making it the only winless team in the league. Most of the team's losses have also been lopsided. - with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News
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