(L-R) Former Philippine national team player and 7s Football Philippines founder Anton del Rosario with AIA Philippines Head of Branding and Communications Bernadette Chincuanco and AIA 7s Executive Director Ethan Lee.

IT’S all systems go for the third season of the AIA Vitality Kampeon Cup featuring eight teams from across the archipelago at the Dynamic Herb Complex in Talisay City, Cebu on Sept. 22 to 24.

Back-to-back champion Cebu, as expected, looms as the heavy favorite in a hat trick bid in front of its home fans as runner-up Bonifacio Global City is out to exact sweet vengeance on the road.

Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Palawan, Pampanga, and Zamboanga are also out to give the fancied squads a run for their own money in the largest staging of the seven-a-side football league thus far.

“This will be the biggest showing yet in terms of participation in the AIA Vitality Kampeon Cup,” said AIA 7s Executive Director Ethan Lee.

“With every tournament we play, the league grows even more. I cannot think of a great way to cap off this 2023 with an eight-team field competing for the title of the fastest growing sport and biggest football tournament in the country.”

All eight cities will slug it out in the elimination round on Sept. 22 and 23 before the semifinals on the second day. On Sept. 24, only two teams will be left standing for the Kampeon Cup finals which will also have youth games as front act.

The third Kampeon Cup is only one of the local tournaments backed by the AIA 7s Football after the inaugural AIA Vitality Women’s Kampeon Cup, the first BPI AIA Asia 7s Football tournament, and the Soccer Tournament $1 Million Winner-Take-All in a bid to champion growth of Pinoy football.

“Football is really special to us. It’s our way of helping Filipinos maintain a healthy lifestyle. What’s special about Kampeon is spreading football across the Philippines and I’m sure the contribution of the 7s League is felt. We’re glad to be a partner in this,” added AIA Philippines Head of Branding and Communications Bernadette Chincuanco.

Former national team player Anton del Rosario, who founded 7s Football Philippines, said that Philippine football through the Kampeon Cup has come this far but the game is just getting started.

“Thank you for allowing us to help grow football in the country. This is part of our goal to provide a pathway for the future of Philippine football and the best way to do it is through our passion for the sport,” he said, mentioning that over 700 teams are now participating in different local 7s football tournaments.

“It’s a great time to be involved in football.” — John Bryan Ulanday