Kaya-v-Ceres-Odawara-v-Omura

HISTORY! Invincibles Ceres snatch Copa Alcantara to complete perfect season

Goals from Robert Lopez Mendy and Tristan Kit Robles were enough, despite a late Kenshiro Daniels goal for Kaya, as Ceres-Negros snatch the crown and win 2-1 in the final for an unprecedented double in the 2019 edition of the Copa Paulino Alcantara that was held last November 16 in Binan Laguna.

Right after kickoff, Ceres-Negros immediately tried to employ a high-pressure approach with Senegalese striker Robert Lopez Mendy even finding the back of the net in the fourth minute, only to be ruled offside.

Kaya meanwhile were caught on their back-heels, defending in numbers, with a fifth minute corner by the busmen’s holding midfielder Miguel Tanton successfully finding Japanese enforcer Takashi Odawara who headed just wide.

Ceres continued to pile up some promising chances against their opponents as the defending cup holders looked disjointed in the early proceedings.

In the 11th minute, Roland Muller landed awkwardly after colliding with fellow busman Dennis Villanueva while saving a threatening ball from Kaya  that put a brief stoppage in the proceedings, but the net-minder turned out to be alright.

A free-kick by Kaya in the 18th minute came begging but ultimately came to naught as the play was easily dealt with by the Ceres-Negros defense.

A chance for the Bacolod-based club arrived in the 20th minute with Junior Munoz, operating from the right flank, unleashing Robert Lopez Mendy who fired from range only for keeper Michael Casas to parry the effort and snuff out the threat.

But Kaya were awarded a freekick in a very promising position, just outside Ceres’ penalty box, a few moments later. However, Kenshiro Daniels’ attempt went just wide of the near post.

Michael Casas once again was called to action for Kaya in the 27th minute when a dangerous ball went deceivingly near his goal.

In the 28th minute, Jovin Bedic had a golden opportunity for Kaya with only Roland Muller to beat, but his shot was deflected by the Ceres goalkeeper away from goal.

And just at the stroke of the half hour mark, Ceres-Negros produced the icebreaker off a stunning counter-attacking move, with James Younghusband providing the dangerous cross at speed towards an onrushing Robert Mendy who dispatched the ball into Kaya’s net without any hint of doubt at point-blank range.

Kaya immediately tried to respond within the next minute, with the ball finding Jayson Panhay but the winger’s effort was way high over the bar to even worry Muller at goal.

Coach Noel Marcaida’s men continued to search for an equalizer coming close once again in the 35th minute with Daniels firing wide from a considerable distance after receiving a well-worked ball from Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Osei.

Kaya continued to be unrelenting, with Panhay firing from an angle inside the box within the next minute, but his shot was well handled by Ceres captain, Muller.

In the 41st minute the busmen once again got into high-gear producing another chance with James Younghusband’s cross from the right wing just missing Mendy.

Kaya almost got an answer from an ensuing play, with Jordan Mintah unleashing a shot that flew narrowly off-target as the first half eventually came to an end after a minute of added time with the three-peat league champions enjoying a slim 1-0 lead.

After the restart, Ceres-Negros continued where they left off showing more impetus and verve in their plays and seemingly enjoying their role as underdogs in the final. 

With the situation obviously not favoring Kaya, Coach Noel Marcaida was forced to make an early change with Connor Tacagni replacing Panhay to provide more presence and industry up front.

In the 58th minute Kaya showed a glimpse of the promise they can conjure in their attack but a deceiving cross failed to find Kenshiro Daniels who could have headed the ball at speed.

In the 63rd minute, a freekick from Daniels from the right midfield found Darryl Roberts who just cannot direct the ball on-target with his header.

In the 67th minute Kaya had best chance to equalize off a set piece with Masanari Omura connecting with Daniels’ freekick only for the ball to shave the far post and bounce out of danger as Ceres got a fortunate break.

The defending champions will immediately rue that gilt-edged opportunity as right in the next play, Ceres doubled their lead with Tristan Kit Robles putting himself in the scoresheet by burying the chance off a well crafted lay-off from Mendy.

The Iloilo-based squad pushed forth to get themselves a goal with Bedic producing an effort that was easily dealt with 30 minutes after the restart while a venomous header from Tacagni forced Muller to an acrobatic save but still a breakthrough still did not arrive.

Tense moments followed for Ceres, as Kaya came close thrice near the 80th minute mark, but the league champions were let off the hook in all of those three.

James Younghusband who was on a receiving end of a collision moments ago was replaced by Charles Ivan Barberan.

Younghusband’s absence may have unsettled the balance in Ceres as five minutes before the 90th minute mark, Kaya finally scored a goal with Kenshiro Daniels putting his team back in the game.

Kaya continued to knock into Ceres’ defense with Daniels proving to be an inspiration for his team late in the match with an 87th minute freekick hitting the crossbar.

A nervy end to the match with four minutes of added time proved to be a nail-biter with the league invincibles defending with their dear lives, but the equalizer failed to arrive as Ceres-Neros achieved an unprecedented double in Philippine Football’s professional era going unbeaten for the whole 2019 domestic campaign.

A much tougher Copa Alcantara in 2020?

The Copa Paulino Alcantara serves as country’s counterpart to the FA Cup and is under the auspices of the Philippine Football Federation with the Philippines Football League commissioned to lead the organization of the tournament.

Unlike a “league cup” competition where the tournament is limited only to participants of the top-flight and, to an extent, the second division in other countries, the FA Cup is actually a knockout battle royale of all professional clubs and the PFL is planning to apply that essence in the next Copa Alcantara edition.

Given that the PFL is the only league made up of fully professional clubs, it is being mulled by PFL Commissioner Coco Torre to open the Copa to semi-professional teams and clubs pending certain requirements from the organizers.

If the expansion of the cup to non-PFL clubs pushes through for the 2020 edition, it would mean that it will be a much tougher road for the participating clubs to win the cup.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League Facebook Page

Copa Paulino Alcantara Final Kaya vs Ceres

Copa Alcantara: Ceres ‘Invincibles’ battle holders Kaya for PH football supremacy

Ceres-Negros and Kaya FC Iloilo secured their tickets to the Copa Paulino Alcantara final, and along with the mouthwatering face-off for the silverware, a much bigger implication is at stake that deals on the power-play in the early phase of Philippine football’s professional era.

Three-time consecutive Philippines Football League (PFL) champions Ceres were able to squeeze through a seven-goal thriller semifinal match against a spirited Stallion Laguna side by getting a 4-3 win in Binan Football Stadium last November 10.

In the other semifinal, which kicked-off simultaneously, Kaya successfully mounted a late push in the second half to get a 3-0 result and deny Mendiola FC 1991 any glimmer of hope of reaching the final for a shot at winning the cup.

The results from both matches rendered the qualification for a second AFC Cup spot a foregone conclusion with Kaya already filling the void being the 2019 PFL runners-up.

However, with both sides meeting in the Copa Paulino Alcantara decider, a bigger underlying battle for supremacy is at stake aside from just winning the coveted trophy, as the cup could now be considered more as a stamp of dominance in Philippine top-flight football.

Ceres-Negros’ push for domestic immortality

League champions Ceres-Negros won the league in very convincing fashion by not suffering a single loss. Such a feat earned them the Invincibles tag for the entire 2019 PFL campaign.

But a rampant performance in the course of the busmen’s cup campaign, save for their lackluster opening draw against Mendiola, made Ceres one of the clear favourites to win the second edition of the domestic cup.

If Coach Risto Vidakovic’s men are able to win against Kaya on November 16, the Bacolod-based club will now be the first ever winners of the domestic double, completing a sweep of the trophies that Philippine football has on offer at the highest level.

What will make the feat even more remarkable, if attained, is Ceres’ invincibility tag will then be for the entire 2019 season which will be an undefeated run that spans both the league and cup campaigns – something that might never be replicated for, at least, several years.

Kaya FC’s march towards destiny

Kaya FC Iloilo meanwhile are set to defend their title with only one hurdle left standing their way, the formidable Ceres fleet.

After achieving a dream start in the cup tournament with the 5-0 dismantling of Philippine Air Force, Coach Noel Marcaida’s men were pushed to the limit against Stallion Laguna in their final Group B fixture last November 6 with a 1-1 draw, as both teams tussled to seize top seeding which Kaya were able to hold on to.

However, the semifinal win against a hungry Mendiola squad proved that Kaya are legitimate defenders of the cup that they were able to win last year in thrilling fashion.

Come the final, if Kaya are able to take their chances and end up victorious, it would halt their close rivals, Ceres-Negros’ plans to achieve something exclusively rare, while they themselves will seize a historic back-to-back Copa Alcantara titles that could pave the way for them to a legitimate claim as the “Cup Kings” of Philippine Football, with the two of the biggest trophies once again split between the fierce rivals.

A true test of depth for The Invincibles

The final won’t be a walk in the park though for either side, as both squads’ mettles will be tested.

But a much tougher proposition hangs on Ceres-Negros as it is believed that several of their key players are already heading to the Azkals’ camp immediately after the recently concluded semifinal match in preparation for the World Cup qualifying match away against Maldives which will be on November 14.

Though Ceres’ squad is no doubt very deep, if full-force, the fact that five more players might not be available for the final against Kaya will be a true test of the busmen’s bench.

The Final of the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara is set on Saturday, November 16 in Binan Football Stadium.

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Copa Alcantara: Ceres-Negros deals Young Azkals’ first loss

An unrelenting second half from the undefeated Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros dealt the Azkals U22 their first loss in the Copa Paulino Alcantara with a 2-1 scoreline.

The first half started with the national squad showing a more positive approach with their pressing gameplay spearheaded by Chima Uzoka as the focal point in attack.

The Philippines 11 also came up with lively support from both wings as Mariano Suba and Yrick Gallantes providing the pace from both flanks.

After the quarter of an hour Ceres were able to settle a bit into their gameplay producing some half-chances which goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus was able to deal with.

The Young Azkals continued to push forth with their relentless pressing and pace with Jasrvey Gayoso also providing additional threat with an occasional chance.

The breakthrough arrived in the half hour mark with the pacy Yrick Gallantes finding the back of the net off a rebound from his own initial attempt with Gayoso as provider.

With the deadlock, broken the Under-22 side continued with their probing while Ceres came up, uncharacteristically, with a few opportunities with Maranon trying to create something from deep.

But Gallantes’ conversion proved to be the difference in the first half as time expired with the Philippine Team enjoying a slim lead heading into the break.

A different situation transpired early in the second half as Ceres-Negros quickly seized the proceedings by imposing themselves to great effect.

Robert Lopez Mendy suddenly came to life sparking his team up front. But it was Dylan De Bruycker who gave the Busmen a crucial lifeline in the 51st minute by burying the equaliser from an angle that beat U22 captain Pinthus for the first time.

Ceres-Negros seemed to have smelled blood after the leveller as Mike Ott saw an attempt go wide of the far post while Mendy had two chances in the in the 67th and 74th minute.

Four minutes before the 90th minute Ceres-Negros found the go-ahead goal as Mendy headed Angelo Verheye’s assist from the left flank.

The Young Azkals tried to claw back for a draw, attacking with much intent but it wasn’t meant to be with Ceres even having a chance to increase their lead late in the match only for Pinthus to come up with an excellent save to deny OJ Porteria from point-blank range.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

Azkals U22 in Copa Alcantara serves as preview for 2019 SEA Games

The Philippines U22 squad’s opener in the Copa Paulino Alcantara served as a glimpse of what is in store for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) campaign this late November.

Speaking to the media after getting a 1-0 win in their first assignment against Green Archers United and finding themselves as early leaders in Group A, Azkals team manager Dan Palami shared his thoughts on the considerable number of spectators for the cup match that was held last October 27 in Aboitiz Pitch.

“I’m glad the fans came over and I’m happy that they got their preview of what is to come (this SEA Games).”

However, Palami was quick to point out that the list of players comprising the squad for the cup is not yet a confirmation that it will be a hundred percent the same come the biennial meet.

“I mean it’s not the final lineup yet. We’ll trim (the list) down to 20. We still have two players coming from the senior team (which will fill the slots for) the over-age players,” shared the Azkals’ boss.

During their opener last weekend, it was to note that the team expects additional players (at least two more) overseas-based who coming with the hopes of playing a part in the cup.

“Some of the players who are part of this (Copa Alcantara) team are yet to arrive, like Marco Casambre (of Thai club Chainat Hornbill) and Christian Rontini (of Italy’s Sangiovannese 1927).”

With a big pool of talents being considered for the final cut in the SEA Games, Dan Palami is expecting an intense battle for spots from the players.

“I think everybody can see that (each player) wants to play, that is why they are working hard to be part of the team,” Palami added further.

Under-22 assistant coach Ernest Nierras also stated on a separate interview that other players are also still in consideration for the final SEA Games squad, confirming that changes can still occur and nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the spots.

One particular player who has been a constant participant in the junior squad, but is not in the U22 lineup this Copa Alcantara is Ceres-Negros’ Dylan De Bruycker.

“(De Bruycker) wasn’t released by Ceres for this competition. That’s the only reason.”

Coach Nierras further informed that aside from De Bruycker, more players – overseas-based – are still in the process of being considered for the SEA Games squad who were not able to be part of the Copa simply because of their commitments with their respective clubs.

“There are still five players (based overseas) who are not here (that are being eyed).

“We are gonna field the best team that we can put together (for the Southeast Asian Games).”

The Azkals U22 are about to face their sternest test yet in their 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara participation as they face undefeated league champions Ceres-Negros who are aiming to bounce back from their lacklustre draw in their cup opener against Mendiola FC. Match kicks off at 4PM in Binan Football Stadium.

Meanwhile Mendiola FC and Green Archers continue their cup campaign as they face off in Aboitiz pitch followed by Philippine Air Force and Stallion Laguna in an evening kickoff on the same venue.

Photo credit: The Azkals

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Copa Alcantara: Azkals U22 can still improve – Palami

After putting their 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign off to a positive start, Azkals team manager Dan Palami believes there is still a lot to improve for the Under-22 (U22) squad.

Speaking to the media after the his side’s slim 1-0 win over Green Archers United that signalled the beginning of their cup campaign, the national team boss noted that there are still several elements that needed adjustments in their game and is still quite not yet near the finished article required for the Southeast Asian Games.

“I could say from that game (against Green Archers that) there are a lot of positives, but we have to make sure that (we cover) all the details.

“We made a lot of mistakes. There were a lot of lapses and we were not consistent throughout the game.”

Despite the straightforward assessment by the manager on the things that needed improvement, Palami still provided an air of optimism due to the immense potential shown by the young national squad.

“Even then (with the inconsistencies), we were able to get the win so if we are able to fix those bad habits, then I’m sure we’ll be a stronger team and that’s what we are going to aim for in the next games.”

Meanwhile, Stallion Laguna head coach Ernest Nierras, who is also part of the U22 coaching staff as one of the assistants heaped praise to his young wards who were able to show fortitude especially on the defensive end late in the match, when the Archers (who impressed in their debut season in the PFL) mustered a late concerted effort to find an equalizer to no avail.

“These (U22) players… they were fighting like crazy! Chima (at forward, was) going after everything. The back four played so well. (Anthony) Pinthus (at goal) was amazing,” shared Nierras of the national team.

“We created some chances, which is important. But the important thing was the attitude of the players. We kept on going (throughout the match). So that was important.”

Up Next: The Invincibles

The important result put the Young Azkals flatteringly in the drivers’ seat of the four-team pool that comprises Group A.

However, the team knows that a much tougher task is up ahead as they are about to face undefeated league champions Ceres-Negros who will look to bounce back after squandering a two-goal lead to end their opener against Mendiola in a draw.

“We have to play our game,” said Palami on the prospect of facing The Busmen on Wednesday.

“We can’t expect Ceres-Negros (in the cup) to be (lesser in strength than their league form). I’m sure they have a lot of pride and they would want to make sure that get this win (against us)… It’s going to be a good test match for our U22 (and) I think we could give them a good fight.”

Philippines U22 will next face Ceres-Negros in Group A of the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara on Wednesday, October 30, at 4PM in Binan Football Stadium.

Photo credit: The Azkals

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Azkals U22 show promise after win in Copa Alcantara opener

The Philippines Under-22 team achieves a positive start in the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara after getting a slim but important 1-0 result against Green Archers United in Aboitiz Pitch last October 27.

Assembling its most formidable squad yet, The Azkals management released the list in the morning of matchday which showed a good balance of collegiate standouts and professionals both based locally and abroad.

Meanwhile, right before kickoff, Green Archers fielded a capable starting 11 that has been their staple during their impressive league debut to face against a national squad lineup brimming with talent.

As the opening whistle was blown, the Under-22 side were able to enjoy most of the possession in the early proceedings. However, Green Archers produced the closest breakthrough when John Celiz hit the crossbar in only the eighth minute of the match through a counterattack.

The Young Azkals eventually had their first promising chance of the match when Chima Uzoka almost put his side in front only to see his effort go wide of the left post.

Green Archers eventually settled into the match and found their rhythm as well to produce their own spell of ball possession and building some counterattacking plays.

Paolo Bugas saw his freekick for the Archers go over the bar in the 31st minute while Uzoka saw another attempt go agonizingly wide of the far post in the 34th minute as the dynamics of the match went back and forth a bit for both competing teams.

Late in the half, Jarvey Gayoso and Jimuel Ariola had chances for the Philippines and Green Archers respectively through set-pieces, but the opening goal did not arrive as both teams headed into the break in a deadlock.

Five minutes after the restart, the Philippine team eventually got the much needed breakthrough when Chima Uzoka rose highest to meet Jerome Marzan’s corner kick with a header which went past Henri Bandeken’s outstretched arms.

The lead added a momentary boost to Azkals U22 as another headed effort, this time, from Yrick Gallantes almost got in, only to be denied by the right post.

Green Archers had chances to restore parity with an inspired Jimuel Ariola creating chances but debuting goalkeeper and team captain Anthony Pinthus did well with his custodian duties.

A late shuffle by coach Joel Villarino, opting for an all-out attack, came up empty handed as Pinthus pulled off at least two timely saves late in the match to earn the Young Azkals a positive start to their cup campaign.

Jarvey Gayoso had two late attempts that could have doubled the lead of the national team but Bandeken Fong did well to deny the effort as the clash ended in a 1-0 win for the Philippines U22.

Holders ran riot, Invincibles held

Saturday’s opening fixtures saw a bit of contrasting fortunes for the Philippines’ top two clubs with cup holders Kaya starting their title defense with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Air Force.

Jayson Panhay (29′), Connor Tacagni (37′) and Marwin Angeles (69′) each found the back of the net once while Kenshiro Daniels (33′, 62′) scored a brace to put Coach Noel Marcaida’s men to an early comfortable lead in Group B.

Meanwhile, newly-crowned undefeated 2019 league champions Ceres-Negros squandered a two-goal cushion to end up with a 2-2 draw against a resilient Mendiola FC side.

Robert Mendy’s first-half brace (4′, 31′) were eventually cancelled out as Hamed Hadjimehdi (45+1′) and Papuh Corsame (64′) provided the much needed response for both teams to end up sharing the spoils.

Despite the disappointing draw, Ceres still maintains an undefeated 2019 domestic season and are still in the running. Mendiola meanwhile definitely gets a massive boost with the way they unearthed a result against a firm favorite to reach at least a semifinal spot.

From a neutral standpoint, the draw sets up a possibly interesting scenario for the teams involved when it comes to surviving out of Group A and into the cup semis.

Photo credit: The Azkals

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Titleholders Ceres, Kaya see action in 2019 Copa Alcantara opener

Fresh from achieving an undefeated campaign en-route to an unprecedented three-peat, PFL champions Ceres-Negros face Mendiola FC while Kaya FC Iloilo begin their title defence against Air Force in the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara on Saturday, October 25 and October 26.

Can it be double-delight for the Busmen?

Ceres-Negros’ already milestone-laden campaign could be further consolidated if they can win the Copa, in addition to the league trophy, for a domestic “double” that has never been achieved before at least in the professional era of Philippine football.

However, The Busmen‘s first assignment could prove to be a challenging one as they are up against a promising Mendiola FC 1991 side which were able to acquire reinforcements in key positions during the midseason transfer window.

A lacklustre and inconsistent campaign from Coach Dan Padernal’s men in the league could be enough motivation for a much improved performance as they try to claim the scalp of the much celebrated and trailblazing Ceres 11.

Back-to-back cups beckon for Kaya

Defending cup champions Kaya FC Iloilo are looking to repeat their triumph in the Copa Paulino Alcantara to maintain their AFC Cup participation and and set an early claim to be the Philippines’ Cup Kings.

After failing to unseat what proved to be a mightier Ceres side in the 2019 edition of the league, Coach Noel Marcaida and his wards will definitely go all-out to come up with their second silverware in the professional era in Philippine football.

Kaya’s opener might proved to be a tricky one though as they face a seemingly manageable Air Force squad, but Head Coach Leo Jaena and the rest of his Airmen will use the one-off nature of the cup as an opportunity for a monumental giant-killing.

Azkals U22 debut against dangerous Archers

The nation’s representatives in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be hosted in Manila will finally begin the most crucial part of their preparations for the biennial games as they’re set to face a stern test against Green Archers United, competing as guests in the Copa Alcantara.

2018 Weekend Futbol League champions, Archers, proved that they belong in Philippine football’s top-tier after finishing fourth out of the seven-team PFL in the 2019 season with positive win-loss and goal difference records, making them the undisputed best performing debutants.

All eyes will most likely be on this fixture as a rare matchup between a national team and a progressive club showing strong signs of possible ascendancy will definitely spark the interest of any football fan.

The 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara opens this weekend with Kaya vs Air Force happening on Saturday October 26 at 4PM followed by Ceres vs Mendiola at 7PM. Green Archers United vs Philippines U22 will be on Sunday, October 27 at 4PM. All matches will be hosted in Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

PFL to expand Copa Alcantara as part of 5-point growth plan

During the draw for the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara that was held in the PFF House of Football last October 20, the Philippines Football League touched on its immediate plans for the growth of the country’s top-tier professional league tournament.

PFL Commissioner Coco Torre himself was the one who gave a high-level discussion on what the league’s plans are in front of key representatives of the Copa Paulino Alcantara participants comprising of the following: sponsorship, partnership with industry leaders, league expansion, referee development, and income generation and brand building.

Sponsorship

Recent reports have been published that Qatar Airways are set for a sponsorship role beginning with the 2019 Copa Alcantara until the upcoming 2020 PFL season.

Although some of the specifics of the momentous partnership are still in the process of being ironed out during the time of the draw, the development could pave way for future sponsorships that are being worked on by the PFL management Liga Futbol, Inc. (LFI).

Partnerships with overseas leagues

As PFL management continues in its efforts on multiple fronts in growing the competition as a whole, it aims to forge partnerships with industry leaders in the region.

One key development in this is PFL working with J.League – one of the trail-blazers in Asia – when it comes to club education and other technical matters on and off the pitch with the possibility of future collaborative efforts with other league football entities as well.

“We sought help and guidance from J.League (on this particular aspect),” Commissioner Torre shared.

It is to note that J.League has recently been in the Philippines for a separate advocacy where the league reached out to their chosen community in Quezon City where they held a football clinic and donated kits to the children.

League Expansion

During the recently concluded 2019 season the league was comprised of seven competing clubs in a hectic campaign which required clubs facing each other four times.

Commissioner Torre looked at the possibility of expanding the league, although it will be dependent on the number of clubs competing and the licensing requirements for new ones.

Another more possible approach is expanding the pool in the Copa Alcantara. The league commissioner shared that PFL along with Ang Liga’s Coach Aris Caslib are exploring on connecting the two leagues beginning with awarding top-performing Ang Liga teams slots to compete in the cup.

As of this moment, the avenue for expanding the competitors in the Copa Alcantara could be the more feasible route given that the competition serves as the national cup directly under PFF’s leadership, so not only will it be open to PFL and Ang Liga, as it actually is a national competition that could be opened up for champions of other non-professional leagues.

Referee development

Another aspect that the league is looking at is the continued improvement in the officiating through referee development.

Quality of in-game officiating has been a key thrust of the entire footballing sphere worldwide, at all levels, with the advent of VAR at the highest level of competitions as the most obvious testament to this.

Although, Philippine football is still far from having the resources to introduce VAR, improving the overall level of refereeing through trainings is at a high priority for the PFL.

Income generation and brand building

One of the most crucial in any organized sport is its sustainability and income generation plays a crucial role.

Methods that are currently being looked into are ticketing system and merchandise through the building up of the PFL brand and, to an extent, the Copa Paulino Alcantara.

Though not much has been divulged yet on the details and methodology of the approach with regards to the brand development, another thing that was emphasized as part of implementing a ticket system is the infrastructure readiness.

For now out of the three venues used in the recently concluded 2019 PFL, only Binan Football Stadium has the readiness to implement paid in-venue viewership. Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa still has to be assessed due to its currently open-nature in terms of accessing the venue, while Rizal Memorial Stadium is still in the process of completing its renovation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Infrastructure has been one of the main focus right now as part of developing football in Philippines especially when the topic has been put in the spotlight during the visit of FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Metro Manila a few days ago.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League