The third season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League opened with a bang at Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, the second year in a row that the tournament started on Independence Day.
MPBL founder, world champion boxer and senator Manny Pacquiao, kicked off festivities by welcoming the 31 teams as they paraded their players and respective muses.
Among the additions to this season’s Lakan Cup are expansion clubs from Bicol, Mindoro, SOCCKSARGEN, Nueva Ecija and Bacolod.
Bohol, which could have rounded off the roster of teams to an even 32, did not make the cut, though.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, reiterated his stern warning against game-fixing.
"Alagaan natin ang MPBL. Huwag nating lolokohin ang mga tao. Ayaw kong niloloko natin ’yung sambayanang Pilipino,” said Pacquiao, who took a break from boxing training to attend the MPBL opening.
“To the fixers, huwag n’yo akong susubukan.”
The opening will be followed by games between Bicol and Basilan, and Davao and Zamboanga.
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