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Crucial showdown between Kaya Iloilo, Cebu to highlight PFL restart

Kaya Iloilo and Cebu will collide anew in Iloilo City to begin the second half of the PFL season with title aspirations possibly at stake. PFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The third-round meeting between Kaya Iloilo and Dynamic Herb Cebu, which could have a significant bearing in the championship race, will be the main feature in Matchday 13 of the PFL season, the start of the second half, next month.

The PFL announced on Monday that the league's new "Visayas Derby" will be the final match to be played for Matchday 13 on Feb. 19.

The PFL also announced that Kaya Iloilo will have their "12th man" with them as the match will happen at the Iloilo Sports Complex in the said city.

Kaya Iloilo is currently ahead in the league table with 30 points, while Cebu is third with 21.

The league will restart on Feb. 18 with two matches happening in Luzon: Mendiola taking on United Clark and Maharlika Manila battling Stallion Laguna.

United Clark is second in the standings with 24 points, but the team has already beaten Kaya Iloilo and Cebu, which could mean the Capas-based club can still put up a fight despite losing key players during the offseason.

“We have a tight season ahead of us in the second half of the league season,” said Philippine Football Federation general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes.

The Azkals Development Team will return on Matchday 14, battling Maharlika Manila on Feb. 25, while on the day after, Cebu will travel to Luzon to battle United Clark in another showdown with title race implications.

The third-round meeting between United Clark and Kaya-Iloilo has been scheduled on March 25, while their last clash will happen on the final day of the season on June 11.

On the other hand, the second-round meeting between Cebu and Stallion Laguna, which was postponed due to undisclosed reasons, will now be played on May 24, three days after they will actually play their scheduled fourth-round meeting.

The PFL also said that it will soon make a verdict on the two matches that were canceled for various reasons, both involving the ADT.

The ADT's Aug. 27 match against United Clark was called off after most of the United Clark footballers got sick due to flu, while the ADT's Oct. 29 match against Cebu was washed out by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

With things gradually going back to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all the seven member clubs have already played at least one match at their own home turfs, which for PFF president Nonong Araneta is a sign of hope that there is fan engagement again in the league.

“We are delighted to have witnessed league matches already played in front of capacity crowds in Iloilo and in Cebu. We hope that this trend reinvigorates fan support when the second half of league action kicks off next month,” Araneta said.

“We have seen clubs host their league matches in their respective nominated home venues, and this will result in increased visibility and fan support this season,” added Gastanes.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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