Originally published by ABS-CBN PUSH
MANILA, Philippines – The 2022 season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) kicks off on March 14 with the Copa Paulino Alcantara.
The cup competition will be held at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite.
The competition, named after Filipino football legend Paulino Alcantara, will see the seven participating clubs compete in the cup, which will run three months from March until May to serve as the curtain-raiser to the league competition.
PFF officials headed by president Mariano Araneta, Jr. and general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes welcomed the developments in local club football, which will see the clubs play more matches this year as compared to the past two seasons.
"Football fans have long been starved of a lengthy football season, and it is high time that we have a proper league season which will create rivalries and storylines among the participating clubs," said Araneta. "The Copa Paulino Alcantara is also the perfect competition for the clubs to get their fitness back in time for the league."
"The past two years has been a challenge for our clubs with the livelihood of the players and officials affected by the pandemic," added Gastanes. "With the Cup scheduled next month, we will see the return of a healthy football competition, while still adhering to the health and safety protocols."
The seven clubs will face each other in a single-round robin format totaling 21 matches. The top four teams in the elimination round will meet in the semifinals. The losers of the semifinal will play in the battle for third and the winners of the semifinal will square off in the final match.
Defending Copa Paulino Alcantara champions Kaya FC-Iloilo and Maharlika Manila FC will open the Cup proceedings on March 14, followed by the fixture between United City FC and Azkals Development Team.
In compliance with the national guidelines to prevent COVID-19, the Cup will be staged under the open-environment with testing and closed-circuit protocols which was submitted to and approved by the Games and Amusements Board.
Additionally, PFL also will implement a stop and go scenario in the event that the Alert Level is raised in Carmona, Cavite as to minimize the fixture congestion of the competition.
The clubs have already begun their preparations with training sessions already ongoing subject to the approval of their health and safety protocols by their respective local government units.
"It is important for our participating clubs to gain enough preparation for the upcoming league and cup competitions," added PFL commissioner Coco Torre. "We look forward to the start of the cup which will reignite the domestic football scene and we also anticipate for the clubs to host their home matches in their respective venues eventually."