Karl Decena, InterAKTV
In a bizarre move, the United Football League decided to change the Cup competition format just as the tournament nears the quarterfinals stage.
The UFL said in a statement on Thursday that the format of the competition had originally featured revisions that the league decided to implement right before the knockout stages.
The league, however, realized that making sudden changes in the format “would be an unhealthy precedent to set for future competitions,” making it decide to revert back to the original but “flawed” format.
“Although the Technical Committee admits the initial format is flawed, as the top seeds immediately face each other in the quarterfinals, it was agreed that changing the format midway through the competition would be an unhealthy precedent to set for future competitions,” the league wrote in a statement.
“The committee accepts that it was an oversight in their part not to have altered the format before the start of the competition, and has vowed to be more diligent in ensuring similar problems will no longer arise in the future.”
Sixteen teams that made it to the knockout stages were ranked accordingly to determine the pairings for the round-of-16. The top three teams from each of the five groups and the best fourth-placed squad earned a slot in the next round.
As a result, Philippine Air Force will face Union Internacional Manila, while defending champion Stallion FC will battle Pachanga Diliman FC.
Ceres-La Salle FC will face the winner of Green Archers United Globe versus Manila Jeepney FC, while the Loyola Meralco Sparks will battle the winner of Global FC versus Philippine Navy.
The quarterfinals will start on November 26, while the semifinals will be played on December 3 and finals on December 5 at the Emperador Stadium. All games will be shown live on AksyonTV, the sports and news-related channel of TV5.