‘EXCITING’ COPA FINAL BETWEEN DAVAO, ILOILO EXPECTED
MANILA — Expect fireworks on Saturday night as Davao Aguilas and Kaya Iloilo vie for the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium here.
In the 5 p.m. kick-off, the top-seeded teams in the semifinals, who lived up to the expectations during the Final 4, will toss up not just for the coveted title of the Philippines Football League’s season-ending tournament but also for a spot in next year’s AFC Cup.
“It’s going to be an exciting game,” Iloilo head coach Noel Marcaida said during the pre-match presser at the Philippine Football Federation office in Pasig on Friday.
“Both teams are going to try to show that they deserve to represent the Philippines in the AFC and to be the champions of the cup,” added Davao assistant coach Leigh Manson.
This will be both clubs’ first meeting since June 23 in the league, when they engaged in a shootout with Iloilo prevailing, 4-3, at the said venue.
However, Davao has been unbeaten in its last 11 matches, winning its last two games in blowout fashion, owing to a huge mid-season shakeup that saw four key players from Global Cebu plus former Meralco Manila standout Tahj Minniecon joining the squad.
“Tomorrow’s final is going to be a different story–back to 0-0. It’s anyone’s ballgame,” Marcaida said.
A win for Davao will see the club entering the AFC Cup for the first time in only its second season of existence.
For Iloilo, on the other hand, the victory will see the club returning to the said continental tournament after qualifying in 2016 also through a cup title, the 2015 United Football League Cup.
“It’s going to be the biggest and most important game for both clubs,” added Marcaida.
“I’m very excited for this game,” Manson further quipped.
Game on Saturday
(Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila)
5:00 p.m.-Davao vs. Iloilo