THE champion of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational will have a very Merry Christmas.
Indeed, that’s because the winner in the 22-team tournament set December 11 to 23 is going to receive a P2 million bonanza, courtesy of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascarinas and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League COO and Founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
The participating teams of the event set to re-ignite the country’s top regional league were divided into 4 groups, with the San Juan Knights and Jumbo Plastics-Basilan seeded as top teams in Group C and B, respectively.
Joining the Go for Gold-backed Knights, the Datu Cup champions, are the Marc Pingris-led Nueva Ecija Vanguards, Sarangani Marlins, Valenzuela and Muntinlupa.
Bracketed with Basilan, winner of the first conference of the Vis-Min Super Cup, are Laguna Krah Asia, Marikina Shoe City, Makati and Bicol. In Group A are Caloocan Excellence, Pasig and neighbor teams Bacolod, Iloilo, and league newcomer Negros Muscovados.
Completing the field are Manila Stars, Rizal Xentromall, Imus Bandera, GenSan Warriors, Mindoro EOG Sprots and Bulacan in Group D.
MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdres managed the drawing of lots on Friday at the Crowne Plaza Ruby ballroom.
“This is not just a simple re-start we wanted our league to be at par with the best of the world,” said Mascarinas, noting that the event will apply FIBA International Basketball Federation rules.
Ever-generous, Mascarinas also announced that the second placer is going to receive P500,000 and the third placer P250,000.
Duremdes thanked Mascarinas and the Chooks-to-Go group for their full support of the league’s return which took a long following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owing to the big field, 5 games, starting at 9 a.m. will be held each day of the eliminations at the Mall of Asia Arena. Select games starting the eliminations will be aired live.