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Manson, Palami ready for Global's tougher grind in UFL title defense

Mark Cristino/UFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

Global president Dan Palami and coach Leigh Manson admitted that they already expected the other UFL teams to step up to dethrone the defending league champion.

Asked by sportswriters during the club's launching dinner in Makati, Palami answered, "We already expected that most of the teams will beef up."

Palami particularly mentioned Loyola, which beat Global in the final of the PFF-Smart Club Championship last week, arch rival Kaya, and newly-promoted side Ceres, which had beaten Global four times in previous competitions before the latter's semifinal win in the said tournament, as the other clubs to watch out. "We can't take things lightly," he added.

On the other hand, Manson thought that Global's championship run last year pushed them to prepare more for the league season.

"That's the standard we set last season," Manson said.

However, being fresh from a very hectic PFF-Smart Club Championship playoff schedule that saw the club playing five matches in a nine-day span, he admitted that he had to rest his players.

"Five games in [nine] nights are brutal, so I gave the boys a few days off," Manson said.

The season will kick off at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City with Ceres taking on fellow promoted club Manila Jeepney at 2 P.M. followed by the Kaya-Army match at 5 P.M. Global collides with Green Archers in the nightcap at 8 P.M.

On Sunday, Loyola begins its own season with a 5 P.M. battle against Socceroo followed by the Stallion-Pachanga showdown at 8 P.M. at the same pitch.