Football: United City won't compete in Copa Paulino Alcantara

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2021 11:30 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2021 11:43 AM

Defending PFL champions United City FC will skip the upcoming Copa Paulino Alcantara. File photo.
Defending PFL champions United City FC will skip the upcoming Copa Paulino Alcantara. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- United City FC, the defending Philippines Football League (PFL) champions, will not take part in the upcoming Copa Paulino Alcantara. 

The team announced on Sunday night that they have opted to skip the cup and instead focus on their preparations for the PFL's 2022 season.

"We wish the PFL and all other clubs good luck in the competition, while we get our house ready to defend our PFL title in the upcoming 2022 season," the team said.

United City, formerly known as Ceres-Negros, dominated the 2020 PFL season that was held in a bubble. They won four of their five games, dropping just one match, and had a +22 goal differential.

With United City's withdrawal, five teams are left to compete in the Copa that starts on November 7 at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite. These are: Stallion Laguna FC, Dynamic Herb Cebu FC, Kaya FC-Iloilo, Menndiola FC 1991, and the Azkals Development Team.

"Although with sadness, we understand the decision made by United City FC to not compete in this year’s Copa Paulino Alcantara based on the reasons they have shared with us," PFL commissioner Coco Torre said. 

"With that said, we are still eagerly anticipating the start of the Cup, which will push through with five participating clubs," he added.

United City was originally seeded in Group A along with Stallion Laguna and Cebu FC. Those two teams will now compete for the top spot in the crossover semifinals. 

The Copa Paulino Alcantara, named in honor of the Filipino football legend, will be the only club competition in local football this year as the sport continues to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The PFL plans to start its 2022 season by the first quarter of next year.