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PFL coaches, managers pick Schrock as Golden Ball favorite, Mendy as expected top scorer

UCFC's Stephan Schrock was a favorite among PFL team managers in ESPN5.com's preseason survey of individual award winners. PFL

The Philippines Football League (PFL) is set to return in a unique way as a result of unprecedented times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday at the Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona.

With the necessary changes in format and preparations to push through with the 2020 season, this particular campaign is difficult to predict. Despite the uncertainties brought about by the circumstances, we approached the head coaches and managers of all six clubs to make their own bold predictions with regards to this upcoming season.

Some players did participate in the survey, but their answers were left out in order to focus on the opinions of the coaches and managers themselves.

All clubs were presented the same survey with the instruction that they were not allowed to pick their own players for most of the questions. However, they are allowed to pick themselves with regard to who they felt would finish within the top two of the league.

Each club is represented by a single person in the survey.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that heavy favorites United City FC (UCFC) was not unanimously selected to finish within the top two of the league. This despite the fact UCFC has the core of Ceres Negros FC players -- who claimed the 2019 title with a record of 22 wins, two draws, and no losses -- in their squad.

The top individual awards were less disputed with UCFC's Stephan Schrock and Robert Lopez Mendy touted to claim the Golden Ball and Golden Boot, respectively.

For the goalkeepers, Kaya's Michael Casas is thought of as the most reliable goalkeeper in the PFL and a firm favorite for the Golden Glove. UCFC loanee Anthony Pinthus is also highly regarded and is the only other goalkeeper to receive votes.

The Golden Ball is given to the league's most valuable player regardless of position, while the Golden Glove is award feting the most valuable goalkeeper of the season. The Golden Boot is the award given to the league's top overall goal scorer for any given season.

Managers and coaches were also asked to select their top three PFL players among defenders, midfielders, and forwards -- again with the caveat that they aren't allowed to select their own players.

UCFC's players were the top vote getters among the midfielders and forwards, but there was much more variance when it came to who were the best defenders in the PFL. The only players to receive multiple votes among defenders are ADT's Mar Diano, Maharlika Manila's Serge Kaole, and UCFC's Sean Kane.

Here are the results of the survey:

Which teams will end up in the top two?

UCFC 4 votes

Kaya 4 votes

Stallion Laguna 2 votes

Maharlika Manila 1 vote

Mendiola 1991 1 vote

Who will be this season's Golden Glove winner? (Not from your own team)

Michael Casas (Kaya) 4 votes

Anthony Pinthus (UCFC) 2 votes

Who will be this season's Golden Ball winner? (Not from your own team)

Stephan Schrock (UCFC) 3 votes

Receiving a vote: OJ Porteria (UCFC), Jovin Bedic (Kaya), Lopez Mendy (UCFC)

Which players will be the top three goal scorers in the PFL? (In no order)

Lopez Mendy (UCFC) 6 votes

Bienvenido Marañon (UCFC) 3 votes

Jovin Bedic (Kaya) 3 votes

Jesus Melliza (Stallion Laguna) 2 votes

Hamed Hajimehdi (Mendiola 1991) 2 votes

Receiving a vote: Jarvey Gayoso (ADT)

Which player will be the top scorer in the league? (Not from your own team)

Lopez Mendy (UCFC) 5 votes

Jovin Bedic (Kaya) 1 vote

Who is the most promising player in the PFL? (Not from your own team)

Jarvey Gayoso (ADT) 2 votes

OJ Porteria (UCFC) 2 votes

Receiving a vote: Mar Diano (ADT), Marcel Ouano (ADT)

Name the top three defenders in the PFL (Not from your own team)

Mar Diano (ADT) 2 votes

Serge Kaole (Maharlika Manila) 2 votes

Sean Kane (UCFC) 2 votes

Receiving a vote: Takashi Odawara (UCFC), Dennis Villanueva (UCFC), Jarvey Gayoso (ADT), Shirmar Felongco (Kaya), Souleyman Ndepe (Mendiola 1991), Marco Casambre (Kaya), Camelo Tacusalme (Kaya), Simone Rota (Kaya)

Name the top three midfielders in the PFL (Not from your own team)

Manny Ott (UCFC) 3

Marwin Angeles (Kaya) 3

Stephan Schrock (UCFC) 3

Takashi Odawara (UCFC) 3

Receiving a vote: Arnel Amita (Kaya), Nate Alquiros (Stallion Laguna), Jesus Melliza (Stallion Laguna), Hamed Hajimehdi (Mendiola 1991), Reuben Doctora (Stallion Laguna)

Name the top three forwards in the PFL (Not from your own team)

Lopez Mendy (UCFC) 5 votes

Stephan Schrock (UCFC) 3 votes

Jovin Bedic (Kaya) 3 votes

Bienvenido Marañon (UCFC) 3 votes

Receiving a vote: Jesus Melliza (Stallion Laguna), Ruben Doctora (Stallion Laguna)

Who is the fastest player in the PFL? (Not from your own team)

Jarvey Gayoso (ADT) 2 votes

Receiving a vote: Mar Diano (ADT), Kennedy Ozuka (ADT), OJ Porteria (UCFC), Jorrel Aristorenas (UCFC)

Who is the most athletic in the PFL? (Not from your own team)

Lopez Mendy (UCFC) 2 votes

Serge Kaole (Maharlika Manila) 2 votes

Receiving a vote: OJ Porteria (Kaya), Matt Custodio (ADT)

Who is the smartest player in the PFL? (Not from your own team)

Stephan Schrock (UCFC) 4 votes

Receiving a vote: Masa Omura (Kaya), Hamed Hajimehdi (Mendiola 1991)

Note: Players selected by the respondents who are not currently part of a PFL squad were omitted from the results.