JPV Marikina FC makes its home debut against the formidable Global Cebu FC as the Philippines Football League (PFL) 2018 kicks off today at the Marikina Sports Complex.
The Voltes host the People’s Club in their first real home game at 7 p.m. to open the second season of the domestic top-tier league.
Last year, JPV Marikina hosted their opponents at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila. On February 27, the PFL gave JPV the green light to host the season-opening fixture at its home turf.
The Marikina booters are out to improve their sixth place finish in the inaugural season. JPV finished with 33 points built on a 9-6-13 win-draw-loss record, way short to advancing into the Finals Series.
In preparation for a tight competition this year, JPV bolstered its roster with former FC Meralco Manila players Alvin Sarmiento, Jake Morallo and Ashley Flores and ex-Ilocos United booters Kennedy Uzoka and Charlie Beaton.
JPV also signed Japanese footballers in Suzuki Tsubasa, Ryuki Kozawa, Atsushi Shimono and Keigo Moriyasu.
Global Cebu, on the other hand, is eager to snare the trophy after a runner-up finish last season.
The Cebuanos ended the eliminations with 47 points on a 13-8-7 slate then toppled top seed Meralco Manila in the semifinals only to lose to rival Ceres Negros FC in the championship fixture.
Global also beefed up its lineup with Azkals standout Curt Dizon, second-string goalkeeper Junjun Badelic as well as the signing of ex-Sparks Danie Gadia, Jinggoy Valmayor and Korean defender Lee Jeongmin along with former Ilocos United striker Chima Uzoka.
Meanwhile, the match between reigning champ Ceres Negros and Stallion Laguna FC scheduled for today was moved to June 27.
Besides Global, JPV and Stallion, Ceres is also out to defend its PFL crown against Davao Aguilas FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo.
The league was reduced to six squads following Meralco Manila’s disbandment and Ilocos United’s withdrawal earlier this year.