THE shutdown of broadcast giant ABS-CBN has put the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) season in an even deeper bind.
League commissioner Kenneth Duremdes admitted the absence of a broadcast carrier for the rest of the Lakan Cup playoffs added another concern for the league, which already called off indefinitely the remaining games of the 2019-20 season presented by Chooks To Go following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Concern namin yan siyempre, kasi technically hindi pa tapos ang season namin,” said Duremdes, a day after ABS-CBN and its other channels such as ABS-CBN Sports were told to go off air by the National Telecommunications Commission. “Yung season namin siyempre airing over (ABS-CBN) S & A.”
Duremdes is keeping a positive mindset about it, hoping the network’s franchise will be renewed as soon as possible.
But until then, the former PBA great and MVP said the league could not do anything but to take a wait and see attitude.
“Of course, maghihintay tayo, may mga legal remedies naman siguro yan. So hintayin natin kung ano ang magiging resulta,” Duremdes said.
The absence of a television carrier further added to the woes of the league, which like any other tournament, also had to suspend operation in its final few games due to the current health crisis.
Had the pandemic not broken out, the season could have been over by the end of March or at least a month before ABS-CBN’s franchise expired last May 4.
“Kung natapos namin agad yung season mas okay, kasi good for one year lang ang contract namin (with ABS), so tamang-tama talaga siya,” Duremdes disclosed.
The league also gave way to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, forcing it to briefly take a break and adjust its playing schedule.
“Kung walang SEA Games sakto kami doon. Na-calendar namin na yan before May 4 tapos kami,” said Duremdes. “Before end ng March tapos sana kami.”
The league is currently down to a do-or-die game each in the North and South Division finals of the playoffs, plus the best-of-five national finals.
Defending champion San Juan and Makati are locked in a 1-1 series in the North Division finals, while Basilan and Davao Occidental are also tied at 1-1 in the South Division.
Duremdes raised another possible conflict if and when ABS-CBN’s franchise is renewed and the government finally allowed sports-related mass gatherings that would pave the way for the resumption of the games.
“Problema yung advertisers and sponsors. If ever matuloy na (games), paano yung (advertisers) kasi yung contract nun nag-lapse na nung May 4. Tuloy ba yun hanggang matapos yung season o panibago na naman na kontrata,” said the commissioner.
“Not sure kung tama yung pagkakaintindi ko, pero marami pang pag-uusapan talaga diyan,” he added.