MANILA, Philippines – Known as the UP Diliman Football Field, this facility is located off Ylanan Street on the north part of State U's campus in Quezon City. Thankfully, Ylanan St. empties into Commonwealth Avenue, so access to it is theoretically good. Go up that road for about 15 minutes and hang a left and you will hit Quezon City's first full-size artificial pitch in FEU Diliman.
According to Butch Dalisay, the University's VP for Public Affairs, this is the breakdown of costs for the whole shebang. Not sure what GAA means but maybe it's “General Appropriations Act.”
So it looks like our taxes are indeed working for football. Good job, UP!
Dalisay says this is primarily for the use of UP's varsity football teams but also for football PE classes. One would imagine the school will also rent this out for interested parties. But right now, Dalisay says there are no plans to attract a pro team.
This is the best part of the pitch for me: the wide 5-meter buffer area. That makes this arguably the safest artificial pitch in town. Two players battling for possession near the edge of the field will still land on cushy turf no matter how hard one gets shoved.
Despite the big buffer, the playing dimensions are 68m x 105m, the preferred size for elite play. Many pitches in tracks are only 66m x 102m, or the minimum 64m x 100m. But this track uses a “double bend” oval track design that is fatter than the usual oval. That allows for a wider playing surface while not affecting the length of the track.
This is Limonta DUO Shape P+ artificial grass, with 45mm long blades. The surface was installed by E-Sports, which is responsible for the pitches in BGC Turf, McKinley Hill, Rizal Memorial, Biñan, and Lipa, Batangas. I am told the rubber infill is virtually free of metal debris that could be toxic.
Another layer of the infill, which is very fine, will be dribbled on to the pitch soon to make it even softer.
This is the shockdrain under the carpet. It is similar to what Rizal Memorial has. This feature allows for water to be whisked away at a rate of 500 ml per second per square meter. Audris Romualdez from E-Sports says the pitch can drain completely after 20 minutes.
It also offers 42% more shock absorption, making this potentially a very tito-friendly field.
There is a geotextile membrane under the carpet that also stops smaller bits of rubber from draining out.
Romualdez says she expects the field to pass the FIFA Quality and FIFA Quality Pro tests. I believe these are the new names for 1 Star and 2 Star certifications.
The lighting towers should be up soon. Let's hope they have the requisite 1000 lux brightness for broadcast. There will be one of these on each corner.
This is the end line or by line. There is supposed to be a short white line sticking out of the by line 10 yards away from the corner flag. That demarcates the minimum distance a defender can be from a corner kick, if I'm not mistaken. I'm surprised it's not there. This should be fairly easy to rectify.
The view from the north end. The field has a perfect north-south orientation.
The goal frames are of high quality and appear to be the same brand as the ones in Rizal Memorial.
I noticed a mark of a ball on the inside of a goal post, a tell-tale sign that the UP Maroons are already training here.
Work has begun on the grandstand. This is how it looks now....
… and this is how it will look like when finished. I like the fact that there are no pillars to block spectators' view. The maroon-and-green seating is also a nice touch. I'm hoping for 4 sets of locker rooms and other rooms as well for media, referees, and doping control. Those would make the ground appropriate for a professional team under the current PFL club licensing regulations.
Coach Anto Gonzales' UP men's team managed to win the UAAP title last year without a pitch. Imagine how strong they could be moving forward with a field of their own.
But more importantly, this pitch is a game changer for football in Quezon City. It is far more centrally located than the FEU field, so it will likely be used a lot.
Next up for the University of the Philippines: an artificial grass-field in their Mindanao campus in Tugbok, Davao del Sur. – Rappler.com
Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH.