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Cebu head Malinay insists club "ready to face Laguna" as him, Nierras informed of match postponement at the last minute

File photo
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Hours before Global Cebu and Stallion Laguna were supposed to lock horns on Wednesday, the PFL announced the postponement of the said match.

However, Cebu's COO Josef Malinay and Laguna president and head coach Ernie Nierras claimed that they only found out about the announcement just when the two clubs were about to clash.

"They told us at around 3:15 when they sent an e-mail, 'Yes, it has been canceled. The decision is final,'" Nierras said.

"We were ready to face Stallion," Malinay added, even baring that one member of the supposed officiating crew actually came.

However, both Malinay and Nierras said that no one from the PFL came to explain the situation.

The confirmation came 45 minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. kickoff, and both sides were already warming up for the game credited as a Cebu home game but had to be played at Manila's base at the Rizal Memorial Stadium due to the unavailability of the Cebu City Sports Center.

Nierras also said that when the PFL announced the postponement on its social media platforms, his players already left BiƱan for Manila.

"We only found out [about the postponement] after the posting. We left Laguna by 11:30 (the time the postponement was announced), so by the time we found out about all these things, most of us were on our way to Rizal already," he said.

However, Nierras bared that the league already hinted about the postponement on Tuesday.

"Yesterday, we got an e-mail from the [Philippine Football] Federation informing us that they may defer the match for specific reasons. We had to ask them what the reasons are. We did not get any information from them the whole morning until we found out on Facebook that it was canceled," he relayed. "We're still confused."

Meanwhile, Malinay breathed a sigh of relief that the match did not take place at the Cebu City Sports Center as originally planned.

"Thank God that we both didn't travel there just for the match to be canceled," Malinay said. "Both clubs don't want this to happen."

The match was supposed to take place next week but was moved to Wednesday to give way to Cebu's RHB Singapore Cup series against Hougang.

On why CCSC was unavailable, Malinay reasoned, "For a 4 p.m. kickoff, we really can't get Abellana Sports Complex (the venue's former name)," considering its proximity to the Abellana National School, USC, and the Cebu City Central Elementary School.

Considering that it was supposed to be the second meeting between Rufo Sanchez and his former club, drama was expected in the game.

But with the game officially postponed, both Cebu and Laguna had to settle for a joint practice session, and Nierras said about it, "We had a good practice session. It's one of the few times that you would see two opposing teams practice at the same time."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno