|Stallion Laguna coach Ernie Nierras sees the recent events in the PFL in a positive light. UFL (file photo)|
MANILA--Amidst the drama of the folding of FC Meralco Manila, the speculation that Ilocos United is following suit, and the transfer of Kaya FC to Iloilo, Stallion manager Ernie Nierras assuaged Filipino football fans and followers of the Philippines Football League and its clubs with a statement, in which a copy was obtained by Dugout Philippines on Thursday, stating that rather than looking at the recent occurrences as something negative, he prefers to see it as a silver lining.
"The loss of Meralco created talent consolidation and market correction in our league," he mentioned. "There are a lot of talented players in Meralco that are now available for the remaining clubs to sign. In my opinion, this will benefit the PFL in the immediate future. The talent level (of the leagues and clubs) will rise."
Nierras also lamented the quality of talent of the players who attend his club tryouts, saying that some of them need more seasoning by either playing in lower level leagues and tournaments or by consuming their collegiate eligibility.
"These players will get the valued playing time which will help develop their game," he explained.
At the same time though, roster slots are opening as local booters who have stood out are getting the attention of other clubs outside the country. "The talent consolidation will only improve the level of competition in the PFL," the former Philippine women's football team coach wrote.
Nierras also pointed out that what happened to the Sparks could serve as a learning opportunity for other clubs on how to handle and manage their roster and their finances. This should also highlight on how important physical support is coming from the fans.
"Lessons learned early in any undertaking will always help in the process of growth," Nierras added. "Meralco leaving may be a bitter pill to swallow, but lessons have been learned, and now is the time to move forward and not dwell on the negativity of this event."
Meanwhile, the colorful manager of the Laguna-based club pertained to Kaya's relocation as a "strategic move". Using his own club as an example, "not only do we have the newest and one of the best stadiums at the PFL, we have the support of the local government, a growing fan base, and a legitimate football academy that is improving every season. Our decision to relocate created stability for Stallion Laguna FC."
According to him, this opened Iloilo to adopt another club even though Stallion traces its roots in that province, while also giving an opportunity for another team to call Makati its home, or if not, open the University of Makati pitch to be renovated and improved.
"Relocation and consolidation are good things," Nierras closed. "It may not look like it in the short term, but I believe it creates opportunities. The important part is how the PFL will react to these new opportunities."
Finally, he enjoined supporters of the sport, league, and the clubs "to be part of something" and to not "let the potential of professional football in the Philippines go to waste".
"The club owners have and are investing millions of Pesos to put our money where our mouth is. We are investing in the future of Philippine football. We need your help to make this a reality. We need your passion as well as [your] financial support," he concluded. "Support your club sponsors as well. Without our sponsors, financial hardship may prevent your beloved club from growing. Be part of us!"