Optimism surrounds six-team PFL with new season kicking off next month

STEPHEN ANG/CONTRIBUTOR

The 2018 Philippines Football League season kicks off March 3 with six clubs disputing two trophies and the chance to represent the country in continental competitions next year.

Reigning champion Ceres-Negros, fresh off a historic run in the AFC Champions League qualifying round, headlines the six-team field that includes Davao Aguilas, Kaya Makati, JPV Marikina, Stallion Laguna and Global Cebu.

Even with the pullout of Meralco Manila and Ilocos United last month, PFL officials expressed confidence of a better season, following a compressed and extended 2017 competition.

“We’re taking into account lessons from the first season to improve this year’s competitions,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, who sits in the league’s board. “We’re confident that even with six clubs, we will see much improved competition from the teams.”

A total of 75 matches will be staged this year with the champions of the League eligible to compete in the AFC Champions League next year. The champion of the PFL Cup, on the other hand, will gain outright entry to the AFC Cup.

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