On March 1, 2019, the Philippine Premier League (PPL) formally announced that seven teams will compete in its first season which is set to begin on March 30.
Three of the clubs are from the now defunct PFL, or Philippines Football League, namely defending champions Ceres-Negros, cup champions Kaya Iloilo, and Stallion Laguna.
One club comes in as reincarnation and a rebrand of a financially beleaguered club, Global Cebu, in the form of United Makati after a change of name and sponsorship.
What’s interesting though are the addition of three clubs: Green Archers United, Mendiola FC 1991, and Philippine Air Force.
These three organizations may be newcomers to the PPL, but they have very much been a part of competitive club football scene in the country in the recently past especially during the United Football League (UFL) era.
Green Archers United was founded by football players of De La Salle University in 1998. The club is about to join the fray in the professional level with much optimism after emerging as convincing champions in the semi-professional Weekend Futbol League’s Elite Division in late 2018.
Meanwhile, Mendiola FC has been in existence since 1991 (as shown in their updated formal name of Mendiola FC 1991) being closely affiliated with San Beda University and its well-known football varsity programs.
The club might have been on hiatus for quite a bit when it comes to competing in the semi-professional and professional levels after their forays in the UFL, but such a situation adds mystery and anticipation on how they will compete in their return to the domestic top-flight.
Lastly, the Philippine Air Force FC returns to the pitch once again after being one of the major forces and constants in Philippine football through the years particularly in the early phase of the UFL.
Producing homegrown football heroes such as Ian Araneta and Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong, The Airmen garnered a solid following back in the day and it will be exciting to see such a core of supporters back again on the terraces to be the 12th man of the storied club.
The Philippine Premier League kicks off its season on Saturday, March 30, with a double header at the Rizal Memorial Stadium with the first match at 4:00PM while the second fixture will be at 7:00PM. The 7:00PM match will be shown live on ESPN5 Plus and will also be available via online stream.