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PFL sets Cebu-Negros knockout final in Bacolod

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines Football League (PFL) has set the knockout final of its inaugural season between regional rivals Global Cebu FC and Ceres Negros FC this Saturday at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, turning down the appeal of the Cebu-based club to host it.

Global Cebu had insisted on staging the game at Cebu City Sports Complex, citing Article 2.10 of the PFL Tournament Regulations of 2017, which states that the winner of (semis) Fixture 1 (between top seed FC Meralco Manila and No. 4 Global Cebu) “will be entitled to host the final (subject to venue availability).”

But the league, after deliberation yesterday, said the Cebu-based club had declined hosting in a previous meeting among the four semifinalists last Nov. 29.

Global had earlier ceded its supposed home match back in the semis against FC Meralco Manila last Dec. 2 as the Cebu venue was booked for a marathon event that weekend.

The Cebu booters rallied from one-goal down to score a 2-1 victory in that “home away from home” encounter at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the turf of the Sparks. The People’s Club later salvaged a 1-1 draw in the return leg, also at Rizal, to clinch a 3-2 triumph on aggregate over Meralco and advance to the championship.

Second seed Ceres advanced via a similar total scoreline over No. 3 Kaya FC Makati in their own side of the semis.

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Last Sunday, Global Cebu EVP and COO Josef Mari Malinay expressed the club’s intention to “exercise its rights to host the PFL finals” on Dec. 16 at Cebu City Sports Complex in a letter to PFL CEO Lazarus Jansen Xavier.

 “We firmly believe we owe it to our fans, especially those in Cebu, to play the PFL Final in our home pitch. We had already deprived them once by playing our home semifinal match in Manila due to circumstances beyond our control and we would not want to disappoint them again,” Malinay said in his letter.

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