PFL Comm'r Torre aims league growth with expanded Copa


by Drew Malihan

MANILA - Philippines Football League (PFL) Commissioner Coco Torre bared views for an expanded PFL season in the future, and has opened up on looking at the expanded Copa Paulino Alcantara tournament as a gauge for future clubs joining the Filipino top flight.

He bared his insights on the league's future after Kaya FC-Iloilo's conclusion of their campaign as champions inside the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

"We committed 16 teams to join despite that we already had 20 in the lineup. So for me this is the testament of the growth of club football," Torre said in an interview with some members of the media.

"The good thing about it are those high-performing teams that we observed may be invited into the league so we also have an even expanded league right through the teams that we find," he added.

Alongside Kaya joining the Copa are fellow PFL clubs Stallion Laguna, Dynamic Herb Cebu, Mendiola 1991, and Maharlika Manila, as well as former participants Philippine Air Force, Davao Aguilas, and Loyola, the last played as Meralco Manila.

The Philippine Army is also joining their Air Force counterparts, while UAAP members Adamson University, Far Eastern University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas, while other guest teams included Cagayan de Oro Rapids, DasmariƱas, Garelli United, Manila Digger, Pilipinas Dragons, and Tuloy.

Azkals Development Team, who withdrew late in the season, will not join the Copa but is looking forward to join as the Azkals Development Academy instead, according to Torre, baring talks with ADA head Stephan Schrock.

"Right now he (Schrock) is focusing on his ADA, the Azkals Development Academy. He had mentioned to me potentially joining the team in the Copa for now," Torre said.

Asked about his ideal PFL season in the future, "a healthy number would be between 10 to 12. That's a healthy number for the league," he said. "I'll be happy with eight. But if we reach 10 or 12 I would be ecstatic."

The Copa will push on July 15, with a yet-to-be-announced format, and will see a new titleholder as 2022 champs United City FC decided to pull off from PFL mid-season.

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