30 Nov PFL Finals Series kicks off this Saturday 2 December
The match-ups in the Philippines Football League Finals Series are set after the final match of the Regular Season was played last Tuesday, 28 November 2017.
The four teams that advanced to the Finals Series are: FC Meralco Manila, Ceres Negros FC, Kaya FC Makati, and Global Cebu FC. The four qualifying clubs met last Wednesday at the PFF House of Football to discuss inter alia, match fixtures venue availability and disciplinary matters applying in the Final Series.
League leaders FC Meralco Manila will face fourth-placed Global Cebu FC in the first semifinal. The matches between Meralco and Global will be held on 2 December and 9 December at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Kick off for both matches is at 7:00 PM.
FC Meralco Manila’s General Manager Isabella Fernando and Global Cebu FC Technical Director Richard Gannaban discussed the match-ups of the two teams. Both Meralco and Global have won a game against each other with the two other matches ended in draws.
Fernando said: “We are looking forward to the conclusion of this very long, inaugural season of the first Philippine national league. In some ways, I am already proud of what we have all accomplished, but it’s not finished yet. We face Global Cebu FC in the semis and know we can match up well. This will come down to the tiniest tactical moves as we have faced each other four times this year.”
Gannaban said: “It was an intense regular season considering the schedule was really tight. The team right now is very upbeat especially since we finished first runner up in the RHB Singapore Cup, reaching the latter stages, but now we have to focus on the semifinals. It’s as they say we’re back to square one. FC Meralco Manila is the number one team they have proven how they performed consistently. we’re out to play our best and may the best team win.”
Second placed Ceres Negros FC will meet third-placed Kaya FC Makati in the other semifinal tie. The matches will be played on 3 December, 4:00 PM, at the University of Makati Stadium and on 9 December, 7:00 PM at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Ceres Negros FC’s Team Manager James Dinsay and Kaya FC Makati’s General Manager Paul Tolentino expects another heated match between the two sides. Ceres have won their past three meetings with Kaya with the only draw coming on opening day.
Dinsay said: “We worked hard to be in the position we are in, and we had a very difficult schedule with injury problems as well but we are in a great position now. We look forward to the battles ahead, and we will give our all to win the league. All the teams stepped up, and the level of football has improved, making each game difficult. I think football in this country is going in the right direction.”
Tolentino said: “We are finally in that part of the season where we will determine who will be the champion. I know the club is excited the players are excited and we’re determined to be successful. We had our own ups and downs during the season. We had some moments we were playing well and some moments we went into a bit of slump and didn’t really get the result we wanted but the first job was done and that was qualifying for the top four and it wasn’t an easy task because of the higher level of competition this year among the 8 teams. Ceres are always motivated to perform, but we’re determined to bring out the Kaya spirit and may the best team win.”
Philippines Football League Chief Executive Officer Lazarus J. Xavier congratulated the four clubs and wishes them the best of luck in the Finals Series.
“I congratulate the four clubs participating in the inaugural Philippines Football League Finals Series,” said Xavier. “After completing 112 matches in the Regular Season, we have finally reached the Final Series to determine the Champion of the Philippines Football League Season 2017.”