Business World

Duremdes says MPBL games more unpredicta­ble in home and away format

- Rey Joble

TO SEE visiting teams winning more games than the home squads certainly make the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL)-Anta Rajah Cup more unpredicta­ble as exciting games are likewise in store halfway the tournament.

Prior to the Muntinlupa CagersAnge­lis Resort home victory over the Quezon City Capitals-Royal Manila last Tuesday, the ratio of teams winning on the road is six-out-of-10.

MPBL Commission­er Kenneth Duremdes has an explanatio­n to this.

“Maybe because home teams are feeling the pressure more,” Mr. Duremdes told BusinessWo­rld. “They’re pressed to perform and play better in front of their hometown crowd, including their friends and their relatives.”

The Cagers dealt the Capitals their first loss in the tournament and picked up their first victory at home. Curiously, Muntinlupa was the first team to lose a game at home and before its latest win, four teams won on consecutiv­e games on the road.

Batangas City, the only undefeated team in the tournament, visited Navotas a few days ago and the Tanduay-backed Athletics outlasted the Big J Sports-sponsored Clutch, 80-71.

Three other visiting squads also denied home teams victories at their own turf — the Capitals, who won over the Parañaque Patriots, 64-54; the Caloocan Supremos-Longrich, who nipped the BaiShippin­g-bankrolled Bataan Defenders, 76-69 and the Athletics, who denied host Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment, 74-56.

The Valenzuela Classic-Yulz was another visiting team which was able to snatch a road win after edging the Supremos, 79-78, last Feb. 1.

So the home court advantage isn’t much of a factor in the tournament, but coaches in the league would prefer playing in front of their hometown cheering crowd, which serves as the sixth man of the squad.

Lito Alvarez, team owner of the Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort, sees this as one of the reasons why the league has become successful.

“This format is good in terms of drawing the crowd to the venue,” added Mr. Alvarez, who experience­d similar situation when he served as team manager of the Laguna Lakers in the defunct Metropolit­an Basketball Associatio­n, the precursor of the MPBL.

Mac Tan, head coach of the Athletics, said he would love to play in front of their home court if given the chance.

“The shower of support we’re receiving is something this team needs,” said Mr. Tan. “We know we’re the target of all the teams now, so we’ll be counting on our home town crowd to support us.”

Even Senator Manny Pacquiao, the founder of the MPBL, didn’t give additional reward to teams making the playoffs except giving home court advantage to the top teams. —

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