By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo, considered one of the country’s football hotbeds, wasn’t part of the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League. But for next year, Iloilo will possibly get its representation in the eight-team league.
“There’s one team (from the current roster) that’s going to go to Iloilo,” Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta told The STAR.
In the just-concluded PFL season, the cities represented were Negros (eventual champ Ceres), Cebu (runner-up Global), Manila (third placer Meralco), Makati (Kaya), Marikina (JPV), Laguna (Stallion), Ilocos (Ilocos United) and Davao (Aguilas).
“I can’t divulge right now (which among the teams) but they’ll go to Iloilo to tap the fan base there and that will really make it national in nature,” Araneta said.
The maiden season of the PFL was played over seven months on a home-and-away format, culminating in a Finals series capped off by Ceres’ 4-1 win over Global in a livewire championship at Panaad in Bacolod.
“It was a good final game even though it was raining but the field was okay, the game was very exciting. We hope to ride on the success for next year and hopefully we’ll get more sponsors,” said Araneta.
Among the main areas of concern for PFL’s second season are the venues hosting the fixtures and the need to attract more sponsorship.
“Of course, the venues need to be improved on, like UMAK (University of Makati). JPV, which plays its home games in Stallion’s venue, should have its own home, which is very important for the league,” the PFF chief said.
“Since we didn’t have enough sponsors this year, we just tried to work on a tight budget. Hopefully the sponsors will come next year so we can expand the personnel to make it more professional,” he added.
Araneta proudly reported that the PFF received an award for league development from the Asian Football Confederation after launching the PFL.
“We’re able to conduct a series of seminars for the teams, workshops with the support of the AFC (to complement the birth of the PFL),” he said.