THE Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, through the NBI, yesterday filed game-fixing complaints against a former PBA player and 20 other persons before the Department of Justice.
Charged with 17 counts of betting, multiple counts of game-fixing and points shaving in violation of Presidential Decree 483 (Penalizing Betting, Game-Fixing and Point Shaving) were former PBA player Kevin Espinosa as well as officials and players of the SOCCSKARGEN Marlins.
Espinosa, the team owner of the Marlins, formerly played for Rain or Shine. Also charged were SOCCSKARGEN players Exequiel Biteng, Jake Diwa, Matthew Bernabe, Jerome Juanico, Julio Magbanua Jr., Abraham Santos, Ryan Regalado, Ricky Morillo and John Patrick Rabe; Serafin Matias, EJ Avila, Nino Dionisio, Ferdinand Melocoton, Nice Ilagan, Janus Lozada, Sonny Uy, Jushua Alcober and three Chinese identified only as Mr. Sung, Kein and Emma.
NBI agent-on-case Allein Rey Delfin said the game-fixing took place from June to October this year in MPBL games held in Metro Manila and the provinces.
Delfin told reporters the alleged game fixing took place with the players given instructions to limit their scoring though he declined to provide additional details.
He added the NBI has “more than 10 witnesses” to prove its case although he also declined to identify them.
Earlier, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said a foreign entity has been working with at least three basketball teams to rig games in the league that he founded.
He said the group has been paying off MPBL players, coaching staff and other officials – some for P20,000 a game – if they participate in the scheme. – Ashzel Hachero