Another exciting football event will entertain fans next month.

This, after the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) eyes to hold its national cup competition, the Copa Paulino Alcantara on November 7, 2021 in lieu of the Philippines Football League season 2021, which has been cancelled

The competition is named after Filipino football legend and recent enshrinee to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame, Paulino Alcantara.

Alcantara played for Barcelona in the 1910s and 1920s, and for the Bohemian Sporting Club in the Philippines from 1916 to 1918.

Born in Iloilo but raised in Spain, Alcantara earned the nickname “El Romperedes” (The Netbreaker) for his goal-scoring prowess. Until 2014, he held the Barcelona record for most goals, with a stunning 395 goals in 399 appearances.

According to PFL Commissioner Coco Torre, he informed the representatives of the participating clubs on the league cancellation and the subsequent staging of the Cup during an online meeting last 18 October 2021.

PFF also informed PFL title sponsor and Official Airline Partner, Qatar Airways, of the league cancellation due to pandemic, with the cup serving as the only club competition for this year, with the assurance that the Philippines Football League will be able to successfully hold the 2022 season by first quarter of 2022.

PFF president and Ilonggo Mariano Araneta, Jr. and general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes are optimistic that the Cup will reinvigorate the domestic football scene since the league competition was last held from October to November 2020.

“As much as we would have wanted to stage the PFL season, certain key conditions were not met, which forced us to defer the league season for next year. In its place, the PFF will stage the Copa Paulino Alcantara. We are one with the fans who miss football being played in the country during this pandemic,” said Araneta.

“With Cavite slowly easing their quarantine restrictions, and the reaffirmation from the clubs to compete in the Cup, we expect a thrilling competition,” added Gastanes.

The Cup will consist of a group stage and a knock-out stage. The group stage will see six clubs split into two groups of three with the top two teams advancing to the knockout stage while the third placed teams will square off in the Plate. The losers of the semifinal will face off in the Third Place play-off while the winners will battle in the final match.

In line with the national guidelines, the Cup will be held under a closed-circuit biomedical bubble, in compliance with the DOH-PSC-GAB Joint Administrative Order 2021-0002, with clubs required to arrange their own accommodation with provisions for health and safety protocols while inside their respective bubbles.

At this time, the PFF and PFL are closely coordinating with the clubs on their intent to compete in the Cup, especially as the competition will greatly benefit the Men’s National Team pool as it prepares for the AFF Suzuki Cup 202 scheduled for December 2021.

In an effort to bring the sport to a wider audience, PFF is also on the verge of securing a potential TV partner, which will broadcast the Cup match LIVE on national television.

The Copa Paulino Alcantara will feature two matches played at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite every two days.IMT Sports