|The MPBL and OKBet assure that game-fixing will still not be tolerated despite their new partnership. Ivan Saldajeno|
PARANAQUE--One cannot blame the skeptics about the MPBL's partnership with OKBet for the ongoing fourth season.
OKBet, while describing itself as "a multi-industry company primarily providing leisure, entertainment, and gaming solutions," is more known for its sports betting platform also catering to the other leagues like the PBA.
With the infamous game-fixing case in a Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup game last year still resonating among fans until today, the partnership between the MPBL and OKBet raised some eyebrows among very keen basketball observers.
However, MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes and OKBet chief legal and compliance officer Ma. Victoria Gilera assured that game-fixing remains a no-no in the league.
"OKBet's objective in supporting the MPBL is to be able to support the government as well in regulating responsible gaming, so we're for responsible gaming," Gilera said during a press conference.
She added, "OKBet is supporting the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League precisely because we want to train more athletes and basketball players so in so doing, we'll be able to have them ready for all the games without having to intervene with the outcome of the games."
Duremdes, on the other hand, said that he remains proactive in tracking down suspicions of rigged results.
"Number one, MPBL is closely monitoring games day-to-day. That's why every game, andoon talaga tayo. Yan ang kabilin-bilinan ng founder natin, si Senator Manny [Pacquiao]. Pag may nakita and na-observe siya, he'll just call my attention right away," the PBA legend said.
He even bared that OKBet has been observing games since the start of the season on April 25.
"Nagbibigay sila ng information if there is a red flag. Pag red flag yung game, we will review and then tignan natin," Duremdes further said.
"Aside from those, they also have an independent audit of the company and MPBL," Gilera added.
Now that the MPBL is formally known as a professional league, the Games and Amusements Board is also on alert if in case some sketchy sequences have been found.
"Andoon ang GAB, tumutulong sa atin," Duremdes further said. "Hand-in-hand yung tulungan natin with OKBet and GAB."
So expect the league's integrity to be bolstered with its partnership with OKBet.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno