For Ernie Nierras of the Stallions Laguna Football Club, the answer to the PFL question is simple: it’s a matter of survival. Nierras, who has been with Laguna since it started in 2007, said having no Philippine Football League season to play for will mean SLFC will have to fold and release its players.
“There is no more belt to tighten. If we have no league to look forward to, then SLFC will be forced to fold and stop operating as a professional club. We also have obligation to our loyal sponsors who helped us survive 2020. It is not a matter of wanting to play for us, but we have to play. It does not matter if we can only field a reinforced team or a full squad. SLFC is doing this for the livelihood of our players,” Nierras wrote in a reaction to the PFL Question story that was posted online.
The PFL has yet to decide on the conduct of the 2021 season, with Jack Biantan, who is helping the Cagayan Rapids, opting to have it canceled and pushing for a 2022 restart, while Nierras wants to have the season push through. Last year, six PFL teams played out the shortened season in Laguna in just three weeks.
“We did it last year without the vaccine…We do not want to fold because we’ve always committed ourselves to support Philippine Football because of what it has given our children. As long as we can still do it, we will keep trying. We brought in a new partner who is as crazy as us about football, and that was a blessing in itself. He also has children who benefited from the sport and wants to give back as well,” he said.
Stallions Laguna and Kaya FC are the only two clubs left that are still in the top flight, from when it was still named the United Football League until it was replaced by Philippine Football League. The Stallions started in Division B of the UFL, before moving to Division A in 2011. The club also managed to sign Spaniards Rufino Sanchez and Joaquin Canas, who played with Internacional de Madrid CF during a charity game with the Azkals meant to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Sendong.
Sanchez moved on to Global, while Canas moved to Loyola-Meralco. Meralco folded up in 2018, while Global, which became Global Cebu in 2017 and Global Makati in and had three changes of ownerships, had its license suspended by the Games and Amusement Board in July 2020 due to issues on unpaid wages.
We choose to play and continue to provide a way of life for our players and employees. In a way, we are fighting back against this virus, but in a very safe and conscious way.Ernie Nierras
To read coach Ernie Nierras’ full comments, please click in this link