Chooks-to-Go MPBL groups unveiled after draw; P2 million for champ

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The Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) on Friday held the official draw for the league’s upcoming invitational, FIBA-style tournament slated for mid-December.

The 22 participating teams were divided into four groups of either five or six squads each for the Invitational tournament set from December 11 to 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena – the first sports league to re-open in the state-of-the-art venue.

VisMin Super Cup winners Jumbo Plastic Basilan and Lakan Cup runners-up San Juan Knights Go for Gold shall have a bit of luxury, being in Groups B and C, respectively with only four other groupmates each.

“We join the MPBL with high hopes that we could help in leading a revolution in Philippine basketball to bring athletes closer to every Filipino … that the MPBL is the country’s leading regional league,” Chooks-to-Go big boss Ronald Mascarinas said during the official draw proceedings.

“We want the league to be at par with the rest of the world, following the rules of FIBA. The first step is to professionalize,” he added.

Chooks-to-Go partnered with the MPBL in a long-term deal to assume operations of the league.

The draw results are as follows:

Group A Group B
Caloocan Excellence

Negros Muscovados

Bacoor Strikers

Iloilo United Royals

Bacolod ABB

Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors

Jumbo Plastic Basilan

Laguna KrahAsia Heroes

Marikina Shoe City

Makati FSD Blazers

Bicol Volcanoes

Group C Group D
San Juan Knights Go for Gold

Sarangani Marlins

Val City MJasZenith

Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards

Muntinlupa Cagers

EMKAI Rizal Xentro Mall Golden Coolers

Manila Stars

Imus Bandera

GenSan Warriors

Mindoro Tamaraws

Bulacan Kuyas

The tournament shall hold five elimination round games a day. After the single-round robin group stages, the top eight teams, two from each group, will advance to the knockout playoffs.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals, and championship round are all do-or-die matches.

MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes also mentioned that the Invitational tournament is only the first of many plans for the league as it makes its return in the new normal.

“Ito na yung tamang pagkakataon at panahon, hindi lang ‘yung pagre-ignite ito, but yung FIBA international (standard), moving up and moving international,” Duremdes shared.

To boost the competition, Mascarinas also announced the prizes for the top three winners: two million pesos for the champion, 500,000 pesos for the first runner-up, and 250,000 pesos for the bronze medalist.

Chooks-to-Go MPBL photo

Levi Verora