THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are teaming up anew to discover young and talented players with the staging of the M-League Open starting this Sunday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Both the PBA and the MMDA announced their decision to continue to provide a regular venue for aspiring young players and even veterans who can still play the game during the formal media launch of the M- League at the MMDA Bldg. in Guadalupe, Makati last Monday.
“The PBA is excited with this partnership with the MMDA, through the Metro Manila Sportsfest and the M-League. This is actually our second year now,” said PBA operations director Eric Castro, who represented PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
Castro said the PBA will provide the necessary assistance to the MMDA and the MMSF organizing committee to ensure the success of the competition.
Castro was joined in the launch by MMDA Sports Director Atty. Cris Saruca, M-League tournament director Bonnie Tan, finance officer Waiyip Chong, technical head Lou Gatumbato and newly-appointed commissioner Glenn Capacio.
“The M-League, which will be officiated by PBA D-League referees, prides itself in being a league truly representative of the cities as every team is required to have at least 10 homegrown players in its 16-man, 15-to-play roster,” said Tan.
In the M-League, a total of 10 cities divided into the North and South Divisions are seeing action in the one-and-a- half month long tournament which has Spalding as the official ball, Team Rebel Sports as the official outfitter and Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance, Frabelle Foods, Summit Mineral Water, AlcoPlus, Gerry’s Grill, Excellent Noodles, SM Supermalls and Nature’s Spring as sponsors.
Opening-day action on Sunday will pit Paranaque against Pateros in the first game at 10 a.m., Caloocan against Valenzuela at 1:30 p.m. and Manila against Marikina at 3 p.m.
Seven ex-PBA players and atleast nine PBA D-League veterans are listed in the lineups of the participating teams.
The former PBA stars in the list are Joseph Yeo and Mark Cruz of Manila, John Ferriols of Taguig, MC Caceres and Philip Butel of Marikina, Ariel Capus of Pateros and Arnold Gamboa of Valenzuela.
The PBA D-League veterans hoping to reboot their careers are Kenneth Acibar (Manila), Kojak Melegrito (Quezon City), Reneford Ruaya (Valenzuela), JohnTayongtong (Valezuela), and Gwayne Capacio (Paranaque).
The launching of the M-League comes on the heels of the successful staging of the 16-under and 24-under tournaments, previously known as the Metro Basketball Tournament.