Pacquiao: Foreign syndicate behind game-fixing scheme in MPBL

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2019 09:01 PM | Updated as of Nov 05 2019 10:15 PM

3 MPBL clubs could be rigging games, too

MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao says a game-fixing operation has been running for “quite a while” now. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA—A foreign entity has been working with at least 3 basketball teams to rig games in the league founded by Senator Manny Pacquiao, the lawmaker said Tuesday.

That group has been paying off Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) players, coaching staff and other officials — some P20,000 a game — if they participate in the scheme, Pacquiao told ABS-CBN News.

“ ’Yung mastermind, hindi sila Filipino so lalo akong nagagalit kasi biruin mo pupunta ka sa ibang bansa, hindi ka citizen doon tapos gagawa ka ng [kalokohan]?” Pacquiao said.

The entity is from China, MPBL legal counsel Brando Viernesto told ABS-CBN News in a separate interview.

According to Viernesto, the suspect will place a wager on an online betting website, then that person will try to control the game to make sure the result favors the bettor.

“They tell the players you have to score this much only, and that number is based on a betting site,” Viernesto said.

“So they bet on that number and they win, then they give bonuses to the players.”

Pacquiao, who founded the MPBL in 2017, said the scheme has been in place for “quite a while,” but refused to divulge exact dates.

Authorities have already identified the persons behind the scheme, but will not publicly name them because an investigation is going.

BANNED FROM ALL PHILIPPINE BASKETBALL LEAGUES

“Meron tayong i-recommend na hindi na sila makapaglaro in any league in the Philippines,” Pacquiao said.

“Dapat madisiplina din ang mga atleta natin,” he added. “Nagtitimpi lang ako pero meron tayong batas.”

The athlete-turned-lawmaker earlier suspended the entire Soccskargen Marlins club for allegedly fixing games.

Two other teams that are in on the fix will be announced soon after a series of investigations have been completed, Pacquiao said.

The game-fixing scheme was uncovered after the fighting senator offered a P500,000 reward for whistleblowers.