Filipinas - MPBL

Filipinas - MPBL


The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) is a men's professional developmental basketball league in the Philippines consisting of 29 teams.

The league was launched on August 29, 2017 by Manny Pacquiao, originally as a semi-professional league. According to Pacquiao, the league is not intended to be a competitor to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the country's top professional basketball league. The MPBL was intended to feature both the regional commercial and barangay-level league, with teams on the commercial side to have a home locality in addition to a corporate sponsor. The league was given professional status on December 9, 2022.

Five different teams have won the league championship, with the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards being the current defending champions, beating the Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines 3-1 in the 2022 MPBL Finals.


First seasons (2018–2021)

In the first months, the league hosted teams from Luzon with future plans to expand to accommodate teams based in Visayas and Mindanao like the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. It is planned that an expanded MPBL will have two conferences, North and South, where the best teams from both divisions will face in the finals similar to the format of the National Basketball Association of the United States.

The league was planned to start as early as September 23, 2017 with at least six teams. A pre-season was held with the Bulacan Kuyas finishing as champions.

The MPBL began its first season (named the Anta Rajah Cup) on January 25, 2018, and included ten teams, all based in Luzon. In the opening game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Parañaque Patriots secured a 70–60 victory over the Caloocan Supremos. The Batangas City Athletics were crowned as the league's first-ever champion when they defeated the Muntinlupa Cagers in the 2018 MPBL Finals.

For the 2018–19 season, the MPBL had expanded its roster of teams to 26, adding 16 expansion teams to the league. After ten expansion teams from Luzon were admitted into the league, it closed its doors so that it could leave room for future Visayas and Mindanao teams. The Davao Occidental Tigers became the first MPBL team from the Visayas-Mindanao region. This drastic increase led to the addition of the aforementioned Northern and Southern Divisions. The league also placed roster limitations on teams, only allowing one Filipino-foreigner and up to five ex-professional players. The San Juan Knights then became the 2019 champions, beating the Davao Occidental Tigers.

The 2019–20 season featured a record-high 31 teams participating in the league, adding six expansion teams. Adjustments on roster limitations were brought to allow more Filipino-foreigners and ex-professional players to play in the league. In December 2019, Chooks-to-Go of Bounty Agro Ventures became the title sponsor of the league under a five-year deal. The season was postponed on March 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after the second game of the Divisional Finals. Nearly one year later, the league resumed play for the final games of the playoffs on March 10, 2021 through a bubble in Subic. The Davao Occidental beat the San Juan Knights in a rematch of last season's Finals to become the 2020 champions. Because of the long delay, the 2020–21 season was cancelled altogether. In October 2021, Chooks-to-Go took over the operations of the league.

Professional league (2021–present)

On November 9, 2021, it was announced that the MPBL will turn into a professional league. They have also lifted the restrictions for Fil-foreign and ex-professional players. On December 9, 2021, the MPBL was granted professional status by the Games and Amusements Board. The league also signed a partnership with sports betting platform OKBet to server as their title sponsor.

The league held its first preseason tournament, the 2021 Invitational, with the Basilan Jumbo Plastic becoming the tournament's champions, also winning a prize pot of two million pesos. This is followed by the 2022 season, which featured 22 teams competing. On October 10, 2022, Kyt Jimenez of the Sarangani Marlins became the first player in league history to record a quadruple-double. The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards went undefeated in the regular season and subsequently became the 2022 champions, winning against the Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines.

The 2023 season features 29 teams, including two expansion teams. The 2023 Preseason Invitational was held in General Santos featuring eight teams, among those teams is the first guest team in the league, Bulalakaw. The Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines won the preseason tournament, beating the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards. In May 2023, the Junior MPBL was established, which will consist of under-14, under-16, and under-18 divisions.