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Glitz and glam highlight PFL grand launch

The Eight Pioneers of the inaugural season of the PFL, along with PFF President Mariano Araneta and Secretary General Atty. Ed Gastanes.
By Kevin Estrada

TAGUIG -- Philippines, we have now a true and legitimate national football league.

After four years of careful planning, the Philippines Football League was born in style and glamour in its grand launch at BGC's Shangri-La at the Fort Friday night.

Clad mostly suits and ties, the eight pioneering clubs along with the Philippine Football Federation are hopeful that the league will sustain interest in the beautiful game, with the first ball to be kicked on May 6.

Under the tag "One Passion, One League", the PFL was football's answer to the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association of the late 1990s which still has a nostalgic cult following for its innovative, region-based approach which was a taboo for most of Philippine sporting history.

Reigning national champions Global-Cebu headline the cast, along with former UFL mainstays Ceres-Negros, Kaya FC Makati, JPV Marikina, Stallion Laguna and the newly-named Meralco Manila (nee Loyola Meralco Sparks).

Completing the cast are newcomers Ilocos United and Davao Aguilas, in which they will play in a double-round robin, home-and-away format with spots for the AFC competitions at stake.

"We are bringing the passion and the love for the Beautiful Game to different parts of the country with the PFL," PFF President Mariano Araneta said.

The PFL also sealed it's partnership with state-owned PTV Network for its live coverage.

"This is a truly an unprecedented endeavor. We are looking forward to a vibrant and exciting first season ahead for the PFL," Gastanes quoted.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada