MANILA, Philippines -- With less than three weeks to go before the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational tournament opens its curtains, the referees that will officiate the games were given a FIBA-endorsed refresher course.
The 26 referees that will compose the pool were formed by Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas technical head Hector Villanueva, himself a FIBA-licensed referee.
Speaking to the referees at the Prestige Tower Roofdeck in Pasig City last Saturday was Liberato Valenzuela, an honorary FIBA member and a FIBA rules contributor who just recently retired from officiating.
"By the time mag-start tayo, we will be 110% ready," said Villanueva. "Magpapatuloy kasi ang physical conditioning namin like kanina nag-drills and exercises tayo sa Victoria Sports. And we also plan to hold regular meetings para lalong maging malinaw sa ating mga referees 'yung mga bagong set of rules ng FIBA that will apply to the games sa Invitational.
"Actually na-touch kami sa sinabi ni Commissioner Kenneth (Duremdes) na hawak namin ang integrity ng liga. We will make sure na maayos ang officiating sa liga," he continued.
It also served as a course for the officials about certain new rules in the FIBA rulebook, which includes stricter enforcement for double fouls, windows for technical fouls, and instant replay.
"We reassure the viewers na magiging maganda 'yung games natin, lalo na sa officiating," said Duremdes. "'Yung integridad and professionalism kasi ng liga talagang nakasalalay sa good officiating and alam ko naman na our referees and technical officials are up to the task.
"This is also in line with the direction ng ating league founder [Manny Pacquiao] kaya wala akong duda na magiging maayos ang lahat."
Observing the event were the coaching staff of Imus Bandera and GenSan Warriors.
The Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational Tournament will feature 22 teams and will be held from December 11-23.