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    MPBL teams hit hard by virus crisis planning leave of absence

    May 7, 2020

    WHILE the MPBL is determined to complete the Lakan Season, there is great uncertainty about a succeeding tournament with the possibility of teams dropping out.

    “May ilang teams na nagpadala na ng feeler na magte-take ng leave of absence next season," said Duremdes.

    Duremdes, the league’s commissioner since it tipped off in 2018, said he understands the economic damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic to businesses and that league executives are currently studying its options.

    "Napaka-importante nating malaman kung kaya pa ba ng team owners magpatakbo ng team, kapag makita ng league na wala talaga, we might cancel the season."

    The Lakan season is still in the conference finals stage and Duremdes last week said the next tournament cannot start as scheduled on June 12.

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    Unlike the PBA which has the country's biggest corporations owning the teams, the MPBL has a more diverse set of ownerships.

    The league also has no broadcast partner after the National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN to sign off.

    But Duremdes seems to be certain the remaining games of the Lakan seasn, seven at most, can be completed when government eases lockdown measures.

    The former PBA MVP is open to holding the rest of the playoffs behind closed doors.

    "Kung i-allow tayo to finish the Lakan Season with the restriction of no fans allowed, yes. Four teams na lang yan, definitely kailangan na natin ito tapusin," Duremdes said in an interview with Cedelf Tupas in the MPBL's official Instagram account.

    The league held a game behind closed doors on March 11, Game Two of the North Division Finals between San Juan-Go for Gold and Makati-Super Crunch, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

    For next season, the league is looking at limiting matches by holding separate North and South tournaments, with no interleague games.

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    "We will limit the games at magkakaroon tayo ng sariling tournament lang ng South at sariling tournament alone ng North division. Hindi na sila magcro-crossover," Duremdes said.

    "Magkikita na lang yung champion ng North at South sa National Finals. In that way, malilimit natin yung games."

    The Lakan Season featuring 31 teams played 498 games including the playoffs, with at least five more games to be played.

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