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Sunday doubleheader to open PFL season

United Clark begins its quest for a domestic double with a road game at Maharlika Manila. PFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—After a historic moment in Philippine women's football, the sport's big boys will be back in action as the domestic season opens shop this weekend.

The PFL announced on Monday that its new season will kick off with a Sunday night twinbill at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Kaya-Iloilo and the Azkals Development Team collide in the season opener at 4 p.m., while United Clark begins its PFL title defense against Maharlika Manila at 7 p.m.

Then next Monday, Mendiola will host Stallion Laguna in the lone match at 4 p.m.

Cebu FC, the other club joining this season, will be taking the opening weekend off.

According to Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta, whose organization operates the PFL with Coco Torre as commissioner, the seven clubs will play a quadruple round robin tournament, that is, the teams will play a total of 24 matches each.

However, while the clubs can now host their matches in their hometowns with full stadium capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic with Capas, Manila, BiƱan, Iloilo, and Talisay under Alert Level 1, Araneta said that it will not immediately be the case.

"The first two rounds will be played [at the PFF National Training Centre] or Rizal," Araneta said, baring that the Carmona pitch will also host some matches as well.

However, with the announcement of the Week 1 matches, Maharlika Manila and Mendiola, the two clubs representing the nation's capital, essentially have home field edge in their matches.

Araneta, though, said that the full home-and-away format could resume by the third round of the season, and he is ecstatic about Cebu and United Clark finally playing at home.

"We want to play in Cebu... and then we meant to play in Clark, so they have to schedule," Araneta said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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