12 December 2017


The Philippines Football League has formally announced that the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental will host the inaugural PFL Final match between Global Cebu FC and Ceres Negros FC on Saturday, 16 December 2017. Kick-off time is at 6:00 PM.
The PFL has also announced that the Rizal Memorial Stadium will host the Third and Fourth match between FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC Makati on Friday, 15 December 2017 with kick off time to be determined.
The venue for the PFL Final was finalized today, 11 December 2017 after the second PFL Finals Series meeting with the clubs. The first meeting was held last 29 November 2017. The PFL invited the clubs to signify their intention to host the Finals subject to PFL making the final decision in accordance with Article 2.11 of the PFL Tournament Regulations. Both FC Meralco Manila, who plays at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and Ceres Negros FC, who plays at the Pana-ad and Park Stadium signified their intent to host the Final match while Global Cebu FC cited the pitch and lighting conditions for the unavailability of the Cebu City Sports Center. Likewise, the University of Makati Stadium would not be able to host back-to-back matches.
As provided under Article 2.11, the selection of venue for the Finals was made by PFL based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, venue availability, commercial, marketing, and financial considerations. After due consideration and inspection of the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the PFL decided to hold the Finals in Pana-ad and Park Stadium which had also hosted international events such as the AFC Cup and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers.
Tickets will be available at all SM Tickets outlets starting tomorrow 12 December 2017.
PFL Chief Executive Officer Lazarus J. Xavier congratulated the two teams in the final and offered his commiserations to the teams that will battle in the Third and Fourth match, and at the same time urged the fans to come to Pana-ad Park and Stadium to watch the final.
“We congratulate everyone that is involved with the Finals Series. May this occasion mark another historic moment in the ever growing landscape of Philippine football. I wish all the teams in the Final and Third and Fourth match the best of the luck and we hope to see everyone come Friday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium for the Third and Fourth match and on Saturday at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium for the Final where we will crown the inaugural PFL Champions.”

10 December 2017

Malditas grouped with Jordan, China and Thailand in the Women's Asian Cup draw

By Kevin Estrada

The Philippines' begin their final quest for the Women's World Cup in 2019 with a good draw for the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup that was held yesterday in Amman, Jordan.

Underneath the Dead Sea, Richard Boon's Malditas rode with immense luck in pot 4 as they avoid the trio of South Korea, Australia and defending Asian queens Japan as they are drawn with Vietnam in Group B.

Instead, they are placed in Group A along with China, Thailand and the tournament hosts in whom they will face in their opener on April 6 next year.

Also unveiled on draw date was the tournament logo, as AFC opted to go superheroine for the tournament hosts who are flying the flag alone for the Middle East sides.

After a fifteen year wait since their last Asian Cup appearance, the 70th-ranked Malditas eye revenge not just on the Jordanians for their thrashing in Tajikistan during the qualifiers, but also with the 1983 champions in a rematch of their controversial qualifier in Bangladesh in which an offside flag practically gave the Thais a free ride to Canada.

In the tournament that will serve as the final round of Asian qualifiers, five teams will booking their flight to Paris in 2019: four semifinalists and the winner between the third-placed teams in a playoff.


09 December 2017

Late Sanchez goal sends Cebu to PFL final; Negros repeats over Makati

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Having to essentially play back-to-back road games because of the unavailability of the Cebu City Sports Complex for the first leg, fourth-seeded Global Cebu had its back against the wall versus top-seeded Meralco Manila.

A late goal in the second leg got the Visayan side out of the woods.

Rufo Sanchez silenced the Rizal Memorial Stadium as his late goal forced a 1-1 draw in the second game of their PFL semifinal series on Saturday night.

The draw, however, means Cebu's 2-1 first leg win in its credited home game was the difference of the two-legged affair as the club clinched one of the two spots in the championship game next Saturday via a 3-2 aggregate win.

Manila was actually just nine minutes away from preserving its top seed as the club pressed Cebu defensively right after Curt Dizon put the designated host club, which had the away goal advantage, ahead in the third minute of play.

But Sanchez's 85th minute goal off a miscue from Tyler Matas forced the 1-1 deadlock.

Manila still had one final crack to force extra time, but Simon Greatwich dished out a bad pass with just seconds left in the four-minute second half stoppage time, passing the ball to nobody as he thought a teammate will try to go through the left side of the goal.

Cebu will take on Negros, which took a 2-1 win in its own semis Game 2 against Makati to seal the series win, in the final.

Iain Ramsay's second half goal kept Negros afloat after Woody Ugarte's late first half goal provided some scare as the club won, 3-1, on aggregate.

Bienve Marañon struck first for Negros as he headed in a 30th minute goal.

Ugarte, however, tied the match--and in the process giving Makati a crucial away goal--as he scored a 43rd minute putback after Miguel Tanton's free kick was saved by Roland Muller only to end up at the feet of Ugarte.

Ramsay sealed the win with a 73rd minute attack from way out.

PFL Semifinal Second Leg : Ceres-Negros 2-1 Kaya Fc MAkati

No automatic alt text available.

PFL Finals Series - Semi-Final 2 - 2nd Leg
Ceres Negros FC v Kaya FC Makati

Here's how both teams are lined up for tonight's 2nd leg semi-final between Ceres Negros FC and Kaya FC-Makati


No automatic alt text available.

07 December 2017

Finals berth, AFC Cup slot at stake as Sparks and Global clash

by Bob Guerrero

MANILA, Philippines – It's FC Meralco Manila versus Global Cebu on a mouthwatering Saturday night battle for survival.
The match on December 9, 7 pm in Rizal Memorial is the second leg of a two-legged, aggregate goals semi-final encounter to decide who makes the Philippines Football League final on December 16. Global has the slimmest of leads thanks to a first-leg 2-1 conquest last December 2.
However, Manila also has an advantage. Despite the fact that stadium unavailability forced both games to be played in Manila, the Cebuanos were still technically the “away” team, and Tahj Minniecon's goal for Meralco last Saturday counts as an away goal. Thus a 1-0 result this coming Saturday means a 2-2 aggregate score and the Sparks gaining a berth in the Final on away goals.
A 2-1 win by Meralco on Saturday means the match will go into extra time and if necessary, penalties. Apart from that score, every other result on Saturday means the series will be concluded after 90 minutes.
In the other semifinal this Saturday, Ceres Negros, which edged Kaya Makati 1-0 in their first leg last Saturday, are the hosts for leg 2, also at 7 pm.
The Sparks are determined to make amends for the late meltdown last Saturday that saw late strikes by Wes Dos Santos and Hikaru Minegishi give Cebu the win.
“We finished on top of the league for a reason,” says defender Joaco Cañas. “They scored two goals but overall we were the better team. If we can fix the mistakes and read the game better then we can make it to the final, but it won't be easy.”
Captain Simon Greatwich also expressed his frustration but was pleased with the performance of the squad as a whole.
“I was happy with how we played. The work rate, the heart. We just didn't kill the game off, so we were punished.”
Greatwich was coy about the strategy Manila would approach for the contest.
“We will try a few variations in training this week. In the game we will have to see how Global set up. But we don't want to concede, we also have to be cautious. We also need to be clinical with our chances.”
Meralco coach Aris Caslib agrees with Greatwich, saying, “we just have to prepare for all possible approaches of Global,” but asserts that first and foremost, “we have to stop their transition and control the front players.”
The match is doubly important since the winner not only reaches the final but will also get a slot in the AFC Cup reserved for the two best PFL clubs. One team could even possibly reach the top-tier AFC Champions League, should it squeak through a qualifying phase.
The AFC Cup is an international club competition that in the past few years Global, Kaya, and Ceres have played in. No Filipino club has ever qualified for the AFC Champions League, where the strongest Asian clubs from the best Asian nations play.
It appears that the third-placer in the PFL may also have a chance to play in the AFC Cup.
The vaunted Meralco defense of Milan Nikolic, Lee Jeong Min and Joaco Cañas will need to be in form to corral an array of Global weapons, namely Minegishi, Rufo Sanchez, and Darryl Roberts. Paolo Salenga, who came off the bench to assist on the Minegishi goal, is also a major threat.
Meanwhile Caslib's own arsenal, consisting of strikers Curt Dizon, Minniecon, and Connor Tacagni, will be under pressure to perform.

Tickets for the game will be P20 for bleachers and P50 for the grandstand. Tickets will be available at the gate. Fans and media are advised to enter via the P. Ocampo gate since the Adriatico gate of Rizal Memorial will be closed. The match will be livestreamed on this link. – Rappler.com

Football: Conflict erupts after Azkals' losses in Taiwan tilt

MANILA -- A leadership squabble has erupted following the Philippine Azkals’ sorry performance in the four-nation Chinese Taipei Football Association Invitational Tournament.
On Tuesday, the final day of the tournament, the shorthanded Azkals squad suffered a 1-0 defeat to lower ranked Timor Leste at Municipal Stadium in Taipei.
Ironically, the defeat took place on the anniversary of then so-called “Miracle of Hanoi” where the nationals were able to upset powerhouse Vietnam in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Dan Palami, the team manager credited for the rise of the Azkals and chairman of Philippine Football League club Global FC, aired his disappointment through Twitter.
The team, which also lost to host squad Chinese Taipei after a win against Laos, was composed of a few veterans, players from the U-22 Southeast Asian Games squad and university standouts.
Most of the regular Azkals were not available because they were not released by their respective clubs due to the Philippine Football League season is in its semi-finals stage. The CTFA Invitational Tournament dates are also outside of the FIFA dates so a number of call ups on foreign-based Filipino players were not successful.
Azkals’ team manager to the Taiwan tilt, Jefferson Cheng, didn’t like Palami’s reaction.
“I think whoever makes these negative statements are being unfair. We ended up second place with 3 days preparation, the players were given the best organization one can possibly do with the time, and logistics constraints we have plus the conflict that the CTFA Tournament have with the PFL schedule,” he said.
Cheng, who also owns the Davao Aguilas FC, pointed out that detractors should instead focus on the positive side of their Taiwan stint.
“We may not have won the tournament but the winner here is Philippine football. The exposure given to our younger players was the right thing to do,” he said.
“The senior players mentoring and leading the younger ones was a very good and encouraging thing to see. I think this is what team sports are all about. This experience of our younger players will only encourage and bring more fans, supporters and followers to our national team and Philippine football. Importante magtulungan tayo.”

06 December 2017