Manny Pacquiao may be known all over the world as a legendary boxer, but did you know that he’s also into basketball? And who else loves this sport? His fellow Filipinos, of course!
This coming September 27 and 28, the eight-division world boxing champ is headlining Dubai Invasion 2019, a Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) event. It will be the league’s first trip to the Middle East, to be held at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.
Exhibition Matches to be Held at Hamdan Sports Complex
Two years ago, Pacquiao launched the MPBL, which began with a semi-professional league of 10 teams. Since then, it has grown to 31 teams!
Later this month, the boxing champ will join an exhibition match on each day of the event, The National reported. Participating in the league’s Lakan Cup games are three MPBL teams: Davao Occidental Tigers, Imus Bandera, and the inaugural champion, Batangas City Athletics. Around 15,000 spectators are expected to come each day, according to organisers.
Pacquiao shared that he is really excited to come to Dubai and spend time with his fellow kababayans. He wants to inspire them — as he has been doing for the past 30 years — whenever he fights inside the boxing ring.
The boxing legend also said that the league considers overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as modern-day heroes, so it’s only fitting that they give back to them. He promises two days of fun, excitement, and entertainment through a sport that is much-loved among Pinoys.
Joining the event is one-time Philippine Basketball League (PBA) MVP J-Jay Helterbrand and Filipino-American actor Gerald Anderson (representing Imus Bandera). Fans will also see Rajah Cup Finals MVP Val Acuna and British-born Filipino actor Derek Ramsay (representing Batangas City Athletics). Pacquiao’s brother, Bobby Pacquiao, will also be in the games.
The chairman at organisers DJMC Events, Dunstan Rozairo, said that they invited the best teams because they know how passionate Filipinos are about basketball. He noted that Filipino celebrities, along with elite basketball players, will definitely “spice up” the games.
Likewise, DJMC Events managing director David John described the event as “historic” since it would mark the first time that MPBL is playing outside the Philippines. They want it to be memorable for both the league’s players as well as basketball fans here in the UAE.
For those who want buy event tickets, which start at AED 50 each, please visit meraticket.com.
WHAT: Dubai Invasion 2019 feat. Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL)
WHERE: Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai, UAE
WHEN: September 27-28, 2019 (gates open at 4:00 pm)
If you’re a Filipino basketball fan (who isn’t?!) in the UAE, now is your chance to watch Manny Pacquiao and other great athletes in action! And speaking of sports, you might want to check out Dubai Sports City, a popular sports-themed residential district in the emirate.