Limpag: Cebu and the PPL

Fair Play

THE club formerly known as Global Cebu will reportedly take on a new identity in the revamped Philippine Premier League (PPL), formerly known as the Philippine Football League (PFL).

For me, this is a separation that is long overdue as the two parties don’t benefit from being associated with each other. The change, per Global’s announcement, is in line with PPL’s move to keep the clubs in the PPL geographically close to save on operational expenses. If you don’t have to fly to Cebu, Davao or Bacolod for the home games, you save on costs.

So Cebu is left without a club. Does that mean the Cebu football community shouldn’t support the PPL? Nope. Now, more than ever, the domestic league needs the support of the Cebuanos, Davaoeños, Bacolodnons or from all the other football-loving Filipinos who don’t have a club they can call their own. If the PFL was a make-or-break league that failed, what do you call the PPL?

After the second season, when a lot of clubs folded, I thought that the local league needed some drastic changes to survive and none is more drastic than this. Divorcing Cebu is just part of it. But please note, Global is simply dissociating from Cebu to survive; the PPL is looking at Cebu to grow.

Among the plans of the league is for a series of games to be held in Cebu and while I love for that to happen this season, I hope the PPL won’t do it the PFL way. Hold games here when everything is set and the groundwork is laid, not hold games here because you have to. I like the ideas of the new commissioner, to make the PPL a family experience and that’s what the league needs to survive.

Family, that’s what helps Cebu football. It’s one of the things too, I’m sorry to say, the PFL failed to tap. Look at Cebu football. It’s vibrant and there are a lot of sponsors. Why? Because of family. A rich uncle, dad or a relative who owns a company or is with upper management sponsors a team here because a child, niece, nephew or a relative twice removed is involved with the sport.

If you check local tournaments, you see a lot of local sponsors. But when the PFL came to town, not only were these potential sponsors ignored, they were even discouraged. So I hope the PPL won’t make the same mistake as they were told the league had a certain set of sponsors already.

It may not amount to millions, but surely if someone can pay for a couple of teams’ sets of uniforms, he can be tapped as a minor sponsor for a pro club? We have local products and companies too that teams regularly tap for their tournament expenses. They could be tapped as sponsors too, right?

This reminds me of what I was told over two decades ago when I attended a year book seminar. The speaker said you may be able to tap one or two to take out a full-page ad, but if you can tap hundreds to pay for line ads for that same page, you’ll earn more.

Right now, we’re on the outside looking in at the PPL because we have no team. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have to be involved or we don’t have a role to play. Let’s support the league.


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