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PFL now set for Oct. 27 kickoff

The PFL might finally push through by Oct. 27. PFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The PFL is now looking at Oct. 27 as the start of its long-postponed season.

Following a series of meetings with each of the participating clubs last week, the league officials have agreed on resetting its season start on the said date.

The PFL, however, clarified that it may only push through if by that time, Carmona, once again the host town for the season, goes back to the lighter general community quarantine.

Currently, the said town along with the entirety of Cavite is under the modified enhanced community quarantine until Oct. 15, but if OCTA Research fellow Guido David is to be asked, all signs are leading to a possible downgrading of the COVID-19 protocols in the said province.

"In Cavite, the 7-day average was 491 with a growth rate of negative 38 percent and a reproduction number of 0.59 and ADAR of 11.41. In Carmona, the 7-day average is 10 with a growth rate of negative 44 percent. Both are seeing significant improvements," David told Dugout Philippines on Thursday.

It's also possible that Cavite might join Metro Manila among the provinces that are implementing the new quarantine classification system with granular lockdowns as the main feature.

The PFL will push through if Carmona will be placed under the alert level equivalent to GCQ, although the Games and Amusements Board has allowed professional sports bubbles to take place in towns under Alert Level 4 or lighter.

“PFF is committed to have the PFL 2021 season this year when conditions permit,” said PFF secretary-general Ed Gastanes

Another condition set by the PFL is the commitment of at least six clubs, the minimum number of teams needed for a top tier league to become eligible for AFC Champions League qualification.

Currently, the PFL has six member clubs, namely Kaya-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna, United Clark, Maharlika Manila, Mendiola, and newly-approved Cebu FC.

Two other clubs, Laos FC and CDO Rapids, have also applied for membership, but their status remains pending at the moment.

It is also expected that the Azkals Development Team will make a second appearance in the PFL as a guest club.

The development will sound as good news for Stallion Laguna president and head coach Ernie Nierras, who told CebuSports.Net's Mike Limpag on Tuesday that having the PFL season is needed for the continuity of the club.

"It is not a matter of wanting to play for us, but we have to play. It does not matter if we can only field a reinforced team or a full squad. SLFC is doing this for the livelihood of our players," Nierras said in the said report.

Meanwhile, the PFL is looking to complete its season just in time for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

"Holding the league kickoff by Oct. 27 is feasible since the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 will now be held from Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2022," the league further said.

However, it may mean the PFL might do another single round robin season with only the top two teams earning spots in next year's Champions League.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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