Villaflor: Arise

Noel Villaflor
·2 min read

THANKS to the 2020 Philippines Football League, I now have something to look forward to on a regular basis online, apart from the pimple popping and chiropractic adjustment videos on YouTube and Tiktok.

But seriously, with the last few gripping matches from the PFL, it is as if Philippine football has risen from the dead.

And the quality of the matches—and broadcasts—made for some really engaging viewing experience for football-starved fans.

Perhaps this has something to do with the compressed nature of the “bubble” league, a necessity during this season of quarantine.

And with matches just spaced a couple of days apart, fans don’t have to wait long for the action to resume.

I have watched all five matches prior to today’s encounters—Azkals Development Team vs. Mendiola, Stallion Laguna FC vs. Kaya FC, and Maharlika FC vs. United City FC—and, boy, I wasn’t disappointed.

With just six squads competing in the league, the unintended result is more quality matches from quality squads.

A sure-fire fan favorite would be newcomer Maharlika’s historic first ever win in the league at the expense of Stallions.

Maharlika’s 2-1 come-from-behind triumph isn’t just one for the books, it establishes the club as a serious top-three contender in the league, and most importantly in the many leagues and cups to come.

But just as impressive is the performance of the young ADT squad, which gave United City and Kaya pre-Halloween scares of varying degrees before yielding to identical 1-0 scorelines.

The developmental team was most revealing against Kaya, which astonishingly found itself on the back foot for a significant spell in the match as it tried to deal witht the high press, high octane game of the youngsters, who unfortunately conceded a goal after a defensive miscalculation that led to a Kenshiro Daniels breakaway for the lone tally in the match.

Kaya must have expected ADT to follow a more defensive 10-men-behind-the-ball game plan like they did against its 1-0 loss to United, but no, the pacey, physically aggressive ADT displayed a maturity and focus that serves a warning to the other clubs waiting in the wings.

Philippine football has definitely come back to life.