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MPBL suspends SOCCSKSARGEN for game-fixing claims

Abby Santos and the rest of the SOCCSKSARGEN Marlins are currently under fire for game-fixing allegations. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Manny Pacquiao showed that he is very serious to eradicate game-fixing in the MPBL.

The league's founder announced on Monday night that he is suspending SOCCSKSARGEN for the said reason alongside "other related scheming activities."

The Marlins, a totally different franchise from the SOCSARGEN Marlins of the defunct MBA, lost all of their first 18 games in the ongoing Lakan Season.

However, most of their losses were lopsided, including back-to-back 30-point defeats to the Bataan Risers and the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards.

Prior to the suspension, SOCCSKSARGEN lost to Manila on Oct. 23, 89-104, which came after the two aforementioned blowout results.

The said trend prompted Pacquiao and Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes to investigate the matter and eventually drop the judgment after confirming some information.

"This should serve as a serious reminder to all other teams in the MPBL that we are intolerant to any form of cheating and other unsportsmanlike behavior," Pacquiao said in a statement. "We formed MPBL precisely to promote fair play in basketball so I don't want to hear anything that would besmirch the name of the league."

Interestingly, the suspension came on the eve of the Marlins' scheduled game against the Pampanga Giant Lanterns at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan.

SOCCSKSARGEN is also set to face Parañaque on Friday night at the latter's home, the Olivarez College Gym.

While they are on a hiatus, Pacquiao will take over the Marlins' management to further probe into the game-fixing allegations and eventually waive those who are indeed involved in the point-shaving schemes.

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