REFEREES for the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Invitational underwent an International Basketball Federation (Fiba)-endorsed refresher course three weeks before the tournament opens.

A total of 26 referees attended the course organized by the league’s technical Hector Villanueva, a Fiba-licensed referee.

Liberato Valenzuela serveed as speaker for the orientation held at the Prestige Tower Roofdeck in Pasig City on Saturday evening.

Valenzuela is an honorary Fiba member and a Fiba Rules Contributor. He has recently retired from officiating.

“By the time we start, we’ll be 110 percent ready,” Villanueva said. “We’ll move on to physical conditioning, drills and exercises at Victoria Sports.”

The referees were informed of new rules in the Fiba rulebook which includes stricter enforcement for double fouls, windows for technical fouls, and instant replay.

“We reassure the viewers that the games will be better in terms of officiating,” MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said. “We are focused on integrity and professionalism and we want that our referees and technical officials are up to the task.”

“This is also in line with the direction of our league founder [Senator Manny Pacquiao],” he added.

The coaching staff of Imus Bandera and GenSan Warriors sat as observers during the orientation.

The ournament will feature 22 teams and will be held from December 11 to 23.

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