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Former United Clark players backstop PH team to Asia 7's

The stage is set for the BPI AIA Asia 7s. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI—United Clark basically disbanded its 2022-23 PFL season lineup after the club decided to beg off from the second half of the year mainly due to financial and investment issues.

While most of its key players have since found new clubs like Ivan Ouano, who moved to Dynamic Herb Cebu, some remained unattached with the season now on its homestretch.

When Ethan Lee found out that there are still free agents from United Clark's hiatus, he decided to recruit some of them for the Philippine team that will play in the BPI AIA Asia 7s this weekend.

While Lee didn't disclose on Thursday night who makes up the home side that will face 7s football teams from Japan, India, and Brunei for the said event at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig, he confirmed that some of them come from the former PFL champs as well as two other teams currently in the league.

"We have some players from Maharlika [Manila], ADT, and UCFC," Lee, who is managing the Philippine team, described the core of its team's lineup during the pre-tournament press conference at the Mansion Sports Bar here.

On why he tapped the former United Clark players for the Philippine 7s football team, Lee, who is listed as a co-owner of Maharlika Manila along with Anton Del Rosario, said that this is part of the vision of the Asia 7s' mother league, the AIA 7s Football League.

"That's what the 7s is all about. I was telling them why I want to go into football because of Anton and AIA's vision of providing a platform to the Filipinos out here knowing that football isn't really the most popular sport out here," Lee further said.

He then sees the Asia 7s as an avenue for those who have been left out of the free agency to show that they deserve another crack at PFL glory with the Copa Paulino Alcantara coming up very soon.

"It's really tough for a lot of athletes to have a platform to be discovered out here, so this would be a perfect prime example of giving them a platform," Lee said.

Following the seeding match draw that also took place during the press conference, the Philippines will first play Japan at 7 p.m. Friday before taking on India later in the night at 8:30 p.m.

The Philippine team finishes its seeding games campaign with a clash against Brunei at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The best team after the preliminary round will face the fourth-seeded team in one semifinal, while the other two teams collide in the other semifinal both happening at 5 p.m. also on Saturday.

The winning semifinalists will return at 3:30 p.m. Sunday for the Asia 7s championship gold.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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