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The Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will become the first professional sports league to be housed at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City following the gradual return of sports in the new normal.
Aside from this, the MPBL is also looking at an ambitious feat for its planned Invitational tournament slated for mid-December: to allow fans inside the venue.
No less than league commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the league is very hopeful that the Pasay local government, as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) allows the MPBL to host fans, provided they are fully-vaccinated.
“Hopefully, Pasay LGU, bibigyan tayo ng kaunting crowd para masaya ang mga palaro natin,” Duremdes said during the official draw for the Invitational tournament held on Friday.
“We are expecting, as long as allowed tayo ng LGU natin, which is Pasay, and of course, with the approval of the IATF.”
Duremdes mentioned that fan engagement has always been the strength of the MPBL prior to the pandemic, with its home-and-away format allowing fans from different regions to support local squads.
If ever, the MPBL shall be the first pro league to have fans enter venues physically to watch games amidst the on-going pandemic.
The PBA legend is also mindful that the pandemic is not yet over, and reiterates that the league shall follow the strictest guidelines in the conduct of their upcoming FIBA-style tournament.
“Susundin pa rin natin yung right protocols and guidelines nila. Vaccinated, and lahat ng tests na kailangang required sila, magko-comply ang liga para safe sila,” Duremdes shared. “Hindi pa tapos ang laban natin sa COVID-19 eh.”
The Chooks-to-Go MPBL 2021 Invitational shall take place from December 11 to 23 at the MOA Arena with 22 participating teams.
The teams are divided into four groups of either five or six teams each. After the single-round robin group stage, the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout phase.
The winner of the tournament shall take home two million pesos, while the first runner-up and second runner-up will bring home 500,000 pesos and 250,000 pesos, respectively.
Chooks-to-Go MPBL photo