Pacquiao-led MPBL gives chance to aspiring ballers with nationwide grassroots league
Senator Manny Pacquiao (center) with MPBL commissioner Snow Badua (right) and assistant commissioner Satar Macantal during the unveiling of the league on Tuesday at the Aristocrat Restaurant in Malate, Manila.

EVERY Filipino ball player has grand dreams of showing off his skills on nationwide television in the country’s biggest professional basketball league.

Majority of them don’t make it, either due to the stiff competition or the lack of opportunity.

The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (PPBL) now hopes to fill the gap with a league that focuses on providing players from the countryside a platform that will help them showcase their talent on a much bigger scale.

MPBL commissioner Snow Badua said the league promises to be a genuine grassroots program when it kicks off its inaugural season on Sept. 23 with a pair of tournaments running simultaneously — one for the barangay level and the other for local government units.

The MPBL teams and the league’s barangay grassroots component were unveiled during a press conference on Tuesday with no less than its founder, Senator Manny Pacquiao, as guest of honor.

"Ito ang paboritong laro nating mga Pilipino. Maliit ka man o malaki pwede kang maglaro,’’ said Pacquiao.

"This league will provide more opportunities for aspiring players out there to make it big in basketball,’’ added the eight-division boxing world champion.

Assistant commissioner Satar Macantal said the league will feature eight teams, which will vie for the Supremo Crown, the season’s overall championship trophy, after five tough conferences.

Games are scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and will be aired on national television.

While rabid basketball fans can watch the games on television or see their favorites players live for free (upper box and general admission sections only), the inter-barangay tournament where an MPBL ballclub is based can be viewed on livestream during Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The top discoveries from these barangay tournaments will get a crack at stardom as their mother ballclubs in the MPBL can pick them up anytime and include them in the official lineup.

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