By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will expand the number of former professional basketball players a team can sign in the 2024 season, which will begin on March 16.
The league stated that each of the 29 participating teams can sign as many ex-pro players as they can for their 22-man roster, but only a certain number of them can play in each game.
Previously, each MPBL squad was only allowed to have only seven former pro players in their lineup as they aimed to give exposure to homegrown players.
“The only prohibitions now are that only 15 can play each game, and there should be at least three homegrown players on the game day roster,” the MPBL said.
Players from collegiate leagues like the UAAP and the NCAA can also be fielded, provided they have Special Guest Licenses from the Games and Amusements Board.
The changes in the league rules for the upcoming season were decided after the recent team owners’ meeting with MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao.
For the upcoming season, there will be three teams from Western Visayas, namely the Iloilo United Royals, the Negros Muscovados, and Bacolod City of Smiles MassKara.
Among the three squads, only the United Royals reached the playoff round last season as they lost to the Bacoor City Strikers in three games in the Southern Division quarterfinals.
The Muscovados and the MassKara, on the other hand, fell short of reaching the Top 8 in the said division.
The Pampanga Giant Lanterns were the defending champions after defeating the Strikers in three games of the 2023 MPBL season best-of-five title series./ASC, WDJ