PFL: No more 'Finals Series'

Stallion-Laguna coach Ernie Nierras uses a megaphone to give instructions to his players during a training session at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite. (Photo from PFL)

The Philippines Football League announced Wednesday that it scrapped an initial plan of staging a four-team playoff to determine the winner of the shortened season which will be held under a bubble setup at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite.

PFL commissioner Coco Torre said the playoff system dubbed as the “Finals Series” after clubs raised concerns about the possibility of injuries and fatigue, especially with players limited to individual workouts since the COVID-19 pandemic affected the country in March.

“Initially we announced the Finals Series after the single-leg round robin, but the teams met and they were discussing key factors such as player fatigue (and) physical fitness given the fact that for seven months there was no football at all,” Torre said during Wednesday’s virtual press conference.

“So we decided to reduce the number of matches so that we avoid all these career-ending injuries or long-term injuries,” Torre added.

The top four clubs after the single-round elims would have advanced to the semifinals with the winners advancing to the final to contest the championship of the PFL’s fourth season.

Instead, the PFL will go with the league format where the club with the most points after five matches will be declared as champion.

The PFL will start on Oct. 25 with three matches pitting the Azkals Development Team against Mendiola at 9 a.m. followed by Kaya-Iloilo against Stallion-Laguna at 4 p.m. and newcomer Maharlika-Manila opposite the renamed United City FC at 8 p.m.

Teams, officials and staff are going to stay at Seda Hotel in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the duration of the PFL season. 

Everyone will be required to undergo an RT-PCR test on Oct. 16. before entering the bubble five days later where another test is going to be made.