Senator Manny Pacquiao launches new basketball league

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senator Manny Pacquiao revealed Tuesday his latest foray into basketball with the launch of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

The new league will be all-Filipino, geographically based and will have a home-and-away format at the national and the barangay levels, Pacquiao said in a press briefing.

Senator Pacquiao, who is listed as the head coach of the Philippine Basketball Association Kia franchise, says the MPBL does not seek to compete with other leagues in the country.

"Hindi naman kami nakikipag-compete sa ibang liga, kundi ito ay ambag, tulong din sa pag-promote ng basketball dito sa Pilipinas," Pacquiao said.

Sports journalist Snow Badua will serve as the league commissioner, while former professional cager Zaldy Realubit will be the operations head.

For its first season which tips off September 23, there are 12 Luzon-based teams including Makati City and Quezon City that are committed to the national league. There are plans to expand to the Visayas and Mindanao in the coming years.

The teams competing in the national level will be divided into two conferences, with the teams required to have at least 20 percent of their roster from their home city, league officials said. The roster can be recruited from the barangay level of the tournament, they added.

Foreign players are prohibited from the league, they added. Foreign-born Filipinos will be allowed to participate once they show proof of Filipino parentage from the immigration and justice departments, Badua said.

There will be five conferences per season, with the team claiming the most titles winning the overall championship at the end of the year.

Badua said the MPBL is in talks with a television network to air the national league games, while games at the barangay level will be streamed online.