MANILA--With a sudden exodus of many UFL clubs prior to the start of the 2016 season, the league prompted to merge its two divisions for the league tournament.
However, the division merger led to a bunch of blowout victories by the strong Division 1 holdovers like defending champion Ceres against most of the teams from the former Division 2.
Coach Ali Go found the victories somewhat bittersweet.
"I'm happy for the result but sad for what's happening," Go said to some scribes after Ceres' 11-0 thrashing of Laos in the battle of last year's division champs on Thursday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Ceres and Loyola, on the other hand, have the best GD's so far with +56 and +48 respectively while being in the Top 3 point-wise. The upper half of the standings actually composes of teams with very high goal differences at least eight games into the league season.
Go also believes the current trend in the results between title contenders and moribund franchises is just slowing down what has been a steady renaissance of Philippine football.
"We have to say our sentiments, what we feel also, what do we think of the league, and what's happening in Philippine football, especially at the highest level. We're preparing to be better in the AFC [Cup] or any other tournament, but we have to be better here first. If we have a competitive league, many players will come in, but if they hear this kind of results, they will not go here to play," continued Go, who is set to hand over Ceres' coaching reins to Risco Vidakovic after the All-Star break as he returns to a full-time capacity in the front office as club director.
Ceres came close to clinching a spot in the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup while making the Singapore Cup semifinals as well with Stephan Schrock the top scorer in the said tournament.
Go, however, clarified that the league is already aware of the current state following a meeting with its officials.
"We talked with the management of the UFL. They knows what's wrong. We'll try to fix it. They're doing what they can," Go bared how the talk went, expressing his desire to help the league in resolving the matter.
He also reiterated that there is nothing to take away from Laos despite the lopsided win.
"They played hard. They're better than most of the teams because they fight. They have heart," Go assessed the performance of Laos, which actually slowed Ceres down in the first half before finally pulling away in the second.