MANILA, Philippines –Davao Aguilas FC decided to fold after just two years in the Philippines Football League (PFL).
Although the PFL – rebranded as the Philippine Premier League( PPL) under new commissioner Bernie Sumayao – admits there will be “no quick fix,” the league knows it should keep a “unified stance.”
“When an important team departs the league, it is always a cause of concern,” said Sumayao. “However, we have also been approached by a number of teams that have expressed strong interest in joining the PPL. We are currently evaluating the merits of each applicant.”
The pullout leaves the PPL with just 5 teams – Ceres Negros, Kaya-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna, JPV Marikina, and Global Cebu.
“I have stepped in at a very difficult time,” said Sumayao. “It was either witness the decline of Philippine pro football as a distant observer, or start working and do something about it. I chose to do something about it. I also believed that the league should be a concerted effort of the teams that participate in it. This is where it becomes important to have a unified stance, strength in numbers.”
Davao Aguilas will release all their players including the Younghusband brothers Phil and James, who joined the Davao-based squad after Meralco folded up.
After forming a star-studded team that included Simone Rota and Matthew Hartmann, the club finished 6th in the inaugural season of the PFL.
In the 2018 edition, Davao Aguilas missed the chance to snag a slot in the 2019 AFC Cup after Joven Bedic led Kaya FC to win the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara title.
The Aguilas would still have a chance to join the 2019 AFC Cup as they’e next in line if Ceres-Negros FC would go through the 2019 AFC Champions League.
“When I first approached the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) about taking over the reins of the [PFL], I knew about the difficult challenges that it was facing,” saud Sumayao.
“I felt, like most football fans, that the league was at a crossroads. There was no revenue being generated, no national sponsorship, no TV media, limited attendance at the stadiums, numerous restrictions being enforced on fan activity inside the stadiums, and many more factors that would have challenged the very existence of the league. I knew there was no quick fix, and that the road to recovery will take some time.” – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.