Shortened season to test grit as PFL begins in Carmona

Published October 27, 2020, 5:26 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Getting the maximum three points right away holds big importance for four clubs when the shortened fourth season of the Philippines Football League finally starts on Wednesday at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

United City, led by core of players from the old Ceres-Negros squad, battles guest club Azkals Development Team in the 4:30 p.m. opener before Kaya aims to begin its bid to finally win the league crown on a high note against newcomer Maharlika-Manila at 8 p.m.

Every club is determined to start off the campaign well in the season limited to five matches each during a two-week period.

Out to continue the success of its predecessors is United City, which took over ownership of the Ceres club that won the first three editions of the PFL.

Former Ceres stars Stephan Schrock and foreign strikers Bienvenido Maranon and Robert Lopez Mendy are expected to make an immediate impact for United City.

Philippine Azkals coach Scott Cooper will call the shots for ADT, which is composed of players eyed to become future members of the national team.

The same core of players will face Schrock, one of two overaged players who reinforced the national U-22 side in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.

“Here’s a player they have looked up to and hero-worshipped. He led them in the SEA Games, he’s the captain of the Azkals and in my mind the best player in Southeast Asia,” said Cooper. “So they’re gonna come up with a guy that is many levels above them so for them they should look up to it as an honor and a challenge for them.”

Kaya, under Japanese coach and former domestic league player Yu Hoshide, is hungry to finally lift the PFL trophy after consecutive second place finishes.

But Kaya’s bid could be spoiled by a Maharlika side led by former Azkals player and is described by its coach Roxy Dorlas as a club that could put an “element of surprise.”

The league will finally kick off after its scheduled opener last Sunday was put on hold due to COVID-19 cases inside the bubble in Seda Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and inclement weather brought by Typhoon Quinta.

Both matches are going to be shown online on the PFL’s Facebook and YouTube accounts and the Facebook page of 1Play Sports and on the EXPTV channel on Cignal.