Tag Archives: Kaya

Kaya, Ceres Share Spoils in Opening PFL Match

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Kaya FC Makati claimed a vital point in their opening Philippines Football League match against fancied Ceres Negros FC yesterday at the University of Makati Stadium.

Former Ceres midfielder Marwin Angeles tormented his former club with a 68th minute equalizer cancelling out Iain Ramsay’s 45th minute opener.

The first chance of the match came from Kaya in the 26th minute when Kenshiro Daniels took a free kick from distance but it sailed wide.

At the stroke of half-time, Ramsay finally found the back of the net. The winger was on the end of a Ceres counter-attack, and slotted it in past Zach Banson to put the Negros side 1-0 up at the half.

But it was Kaya that grew in confidence in the second half. A chance for Jovin Bedic in the 59th minute was just off target after Louie Casas went off his line.

Ceres new signing Omid Nazari almost made it 2-0 in the 61st minute. The winger’s free kick hit the underside of the bar and looked like it went in but was left unnoticed by the referee.

Kaya’s resilience allowed them to find the equalizer with 20 minutes left. Angeles, who came on in the 65th minute, fired from inside the box after a goalmouth scramble in the Ceres box.

Ceres almost came away with the three points late in the match, but Daniels made a crucial goalline clearance to preserve the 1-1 scoreline.

Kaya coach Noel Marcaida and Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic provided contrasting insights in the draw. While Marcaida viewed the result as a morale booster, Vidakovic criticized the state of the UMak field.

“(It was) a crucial point in our first PFL match,” said Marcaida in Filipino. “It gave us the morale we need going through the League.”

“I’m satisfied with the draw because with this kind of field, we really can’t play football,” said Vidakovic. “We had a very hard game before and for us to come here and and play in the pitch can be dangerous for the players also.”

Kaya’s next assigment will be against Global Cebu FC on Sunday, May 14 at a venue to be announced. Meanwhile, Ceres will host Stallion Laguna FC on Saturday, May 13 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. — CAL

PFL: What We Know So Far

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Philippine club football is set to reach greater heights this year. Global FC, by virtue of winning the UFL League and the Cup last season, are set to be the first Philippine club to participate in the AFC Champions League preliminary stage while Ceres-Negros FC gained a direct berth into the AFC Cup group stage.

Aside from participation in AFC club competitions, the Philippine Football Federation is set to launch the much awaited Philippines Football League by April of this year. The following is what we currently know about the League at the moment.

1. It will be a professional League

Announced last September 2016, the PFL will be a professional, national league where clubs play against each other in a home-and-away league format.

“The league we will form is a professional league, with professional club and professional players,” said Atty. Edwin Gastanes last September.

Pursuant to AFC’s regulations, Gastanes stressed that a minimum of six clubs is required to be recognized as a national league. The PFF initially pegged the deadline on December 31, 2016 but has since been extended it to accommodate other teams interested to join.

“We can’t have a national league, professional league if we don’t have at least six teams,” added Gastanes.

The PFL being a “professional” league also means that all players and employees shall be able to rely on football as a living — no more part-time players. Additionally, all club and player contracts and other monetary deals will be better structured and monitored.

2. Ten teams have applied for the League

According to a case study by AC Nielsen in 2015, 14 cities/provinces were identified as possible home bases for clubs: Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Marikina, Pampanga, Sta. Maria and Bocaue, Bulacan, Laguna, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.

As of January 20, 2017, 10 teams have submitted their license applications to the PFF. Clubs are required to meet several criteria to get a license. The criteria, which is based on AFC’s stringent Club Licensing Regulations are the following: sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administrative, legal, financial, and club identity.

Global, Ceres, Loyola, Kaya, and Stallion were the first five teams to submit their applications to the PFF and have already chosen home cities or provinces. Global, renamed Global Queen City FC, will play their games in Cebu. Ceres-Negros FC is set to use the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod for their home games as well as their AFC Cup matches. Kaya-Makati have recently announced that the University of Makati will be their home field. Stallion Laguna tapped the Binan Football Stadium in Laguna last year and have been using the facilities ever since. Loyola is set to use the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City.

By the end of 2016, PFF President Mariano Araneta said that 90% of the teams had already confirmed their participation in the PFL. The PFF President announced then that JP Voltes FC had submitted their application for the PFL. Green Archers United became the seventh team on board after announcing on social media that they had sent in their application before the Christmas break.

Last week, the number of applicant clubs reached ten. TV5’s Erel Cabatbat reported that three more clubs had expressed their intention to join the PFL. According to Cabatbat’s report, teams from Davao, Ilocos Sur, and an unnamed tenth team “have expressed their intentions in joining the league.” Cabatbat also quoted Gastanes saying that the PFF will formally finalize the participating teams by February 2017.

3. There will be a League and possibly a Cup competition

During the September press conference, the PFF also announced that the tournament format of the PFL will be a modified home-and-away league type. It will follow the format similar to Australia’s Hyundai A-League where teams play in a home-and-away double round robin league followed by a play-off championship series.

Gastanes also said in September’s press meet, that a national cup competition is also in the works to complement the league. An incentive to the clubs joining the PFL is that the champions of the League can be nominated to play in next year’s AFC Champions League or AFC Cup. Previously the champions of the UFL League and UFL Cup gained spots in AFC’s club competitions.

However, should a club become eligible to play in AFC’s club competitions, they should also adhere to AFC’s rules and regulations. One such requirement for a club to participate in the AFC Champions League, for example, is that they must play a minimum of 27 matches and that the duration of the national top division should run for at least eight months.

The final season of the UFL saw the champion team, Global, play a total of 27 matches (19 League matches and 8 UFL Cup matches) in a span of nine months to meet one of the criteria to play in the AFC Champions League.

With only a few months left before the launch of the League, expect the PFF and the clubs to unveil more information as the Philippine football community braces for its first professional, national football league. — CAL


1. Philippine Football Federation. (2016). Club Licensing Regulations for Philippines Football League. Retrieved from http://pff.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PFL-Club-Licesing-2016.pdf
2. Cabatbat, Erel. (2017, January 9). 9 teams–PFF secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes reveals at least nine teams have signified their intentions to join the Philippines Football League this coming March. [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BPB7dbNgTig/
3. Cabatbat, Erel. (2017, January 17). 10th team–Philippine Football Federation secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes says they have already relayed all the requirements needed to a party that expressed its intention in joining the Philippines Football League. [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BPWUlrAgLta/
4. Asian Football Confederation. (2016). Entry Manual – AFC Club Competitions 2017-2020. Retrieved from the-afc.com/uploads/afc/files/entry_manual_entry_manual_for_afc_club_competitions_2017-2020_09112016.pdf

Stallion Deny Loyola’s AFC Cup Dream

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The Loyola Meralco Sparks FC’s bid for an AFC Cup slot ended after Stallion FC forced a 2-2 draw last night in the penultimate day of the United Football League at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

With the Sparks’ final haul of 41 points, they finish in third place behind Ceres-La Salle FC, who are still to play JP Voltes. Unfortunately for the Sparks, even in the event that Ceres drops the match to JP Voltes, they will still not finish second as the Bacolod side hold a much greater goal differential.

“It’s one of those days. It’s very disappointing that it becomes at this point, but we could be proud of the fight we put out this season,” said Sparks coach Simon McMenemy. “We’ve gone against the odds, worked when we’re down in numbers, battled the whole way and we kept going all the way to the last day of the season. I cannot ask anything more from the players.”

It was Stallion’s seventh draw in the League. Ernie Nierras’ side put in a spirited performance to finish their season on a positive note.

“Stallion players play with heart,” said Nierras. “This was the last game, it did not mean anything to us, but the players thought they didn’t want to end this season on a low.”

Fitch Arboleda surprised the Sparks with the opening goal in the first minute of the match. The Stallion winger was unmarked and rifled in a shot from 35 yards out that left Ace Villanueva helpless.

Arboelda’s opener left the Sparks in disarray at the back as Stallion invited themselves into the Sparks’ own half. Phil Younghusband almost levelled the match in the 36th minute but Ref Cuaresma had a touch on the shot.

The Sparks were given a lifeline right before half-time. Kouichi Belgira’s cross to the path of Simon Greatwich was bundled in by David Basa inside the six-yard box. The scores were level at the half, 1-1.

Ruben Doctora reclaimed the lead from Stallion just eight minutes into the second half. The Stallion skipper muscled his way past Anto Gonzales and slotted the ball in past Villanueva.

Knowing only a win can salvage the Sparks’ season, Greatwich forced another deadlock in the 65th minute. The midfielder fired a shot from long range and in to the top corner as the Sparks confidence grew heading into the final minutes of their season.However, the winning goal never came to be. Cuaresma forced a save on Daniel Gadia’s low shot from long range in the 87th minute. The former Loyola goalkeeper was not finished as he tipped over Joaco Canas’ header to break the hearts of the Sparks, who once again faltered during a game that could have defined their season.

McMenemy also announced that he is leaving the Sparks after this season. “I don’t know, but it’ll be a chapter I won’t be involved in next season,” said the former Azkals coach. “I’m sure there are plans in place, talking to people. I have to think that this won’t happen again for me.”

In the first match, Robert Lopez-Mendy struck four goals as Kaya FC defeated Forza FC, 5-0. Charlie Beaton was the other goalscorer for Kaya.

The season finally comes to a close today. Ceres-La Salle FC take on JP Voltes in the final match of the season at 5:00 PM. The awarding ceremonies follows right after the match. — CAL

Loyola Snatches Second, Knocks Kaya Out of Contention

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The Loyola Meralco Sparks nailed an all-important 2-1 win over Kaya to move themselves up to second place and put pressure on the trailing pack last night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Goals from Phil Younghusband and Joaquin Cañas put an end to Kaya’s aspirations of finishing second in a highly intense match. The match also marked the return of night games at the stadium. RMS’ lighting installation meant the matches in the past few months had to be played during daylight hours.

The Sparks are now in a good position to finish second with 40 points. JP Voltes FC, who claimed a 3-0 default win over Laos FC in the first game, also improved to 38 points, level with Ceres-La Salle FC, but behind on goal difference. The Sparks, JP Voltes, and Ceres-La Salle are still in contention for a spot in next year’s AFC Cup after Global FC claimed the League and Cup double.

“I’m just very pleased today that the boys held on and [they] deserved everything they got today,” said Sparks coach Simon McMenemy. “We put ourselves a chance at AFC Cup action. This is a horrible game to take something from. It’s always tight and to have the three points today is very very satisfying.”

Younghusband put the Sparks ahead in the 25th minute. The Sparks forward was left unmarked in the box and launched a ferocious volley from a Kouichi Belgira delivery from the left flank. The Sparks held a 1-0 lead at the break.

Canas doubled the lead from close range just eight minutes into the second half. Younghusband provided the assist with an inviting cross which allowed the defender to convert.

However, Eric Giganto brought Kaya back to life, scoring in the 57th minute to make it 2-1. Kenshiro Daniels released Jovin Bedic with the long ball, forcing goalkeeper Ace Villanueva to come off his line. Bedic’s shot hit the post but Giganto was there for the follow up into an empty net.

The last 30 minutes saw the Sparks’ rely on their makeshift defensive line of Canas and Anto Gonzales. The rather diminutive Gonzales, who is the head coach of the University of the Philippines’ football teams, put on a man of the match performance on defense and kept Robert Lopez-Mendy at bay the whole game.

The same can also be said for Villanueva. The goalkeeper came on as a last minute replacement for Guilherme Hasegawa. The Brazilian goalkeeper picked up an injury during the warmup. The UP standout rewarded his side with two match-winning saves late in the match to deny Kaya the equalizer. It is interesting to note that Villanueva played his whole college career coached by Gonzales and has one more year to play in the UAAP.

“What Anto lacks in physicality, he makes up for it in the knowledge and know how. He knows what he’s doing even if he’s not playing in that position and he just proved it today. For a guy in his 30s to put a performance like that was phenomenal,” said McMenemy after the match. “(Ace) didn’t expect to start and for him to come in and pull in two saves, he had a very solid game.”

Today, Green Archers United FC and Stallion FC square off in the first game at 5:00 PM. The match between the newly-crowned League champions Global FC and dethroned champions Ceres-La Salle follows at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at the gate. — CAL

AFC Cup Spot on the Line as UFL Returns to Evening Kickoff

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With Global FC already crowned champions of the United Football League, the race for second place intensifies tonight as the League makes a return to evening kick off times at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

As it stands, four teams have a realistic chance of finishing in second place and winning a spot into next year’s AFC Cup. Three of those teams, namely JP Voltes FC, Kaya FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks, will have the chance to improve their standings tonight.

Fourth-placed JP Voltes look like they have an easier route ahead of them as they face bottom table Laos FC in the first game at 5:00 PM. The newly-promoted side took the League by storm by posting a number of impressive results including a 2-0 streak-ending upset over champions Global FC.

JP Voltes ran riot over Laos in a 4-0 win in the first round with Takashi Odawara netting a brace while Alen Angeles and Takumi Uesato also scoring.

The second game pits bitter rivals Kaya FC and Loyola Meralco Sparks FC in the 7:30 PM kick off. The Sparks are currently in third place with 37 points. Kaya, on the other hand, are in fifth with 34 points and are coming off a 6-0 blowout win over Green Archers United.

Kaya came away with a 1-0 win in their first round meeting last July. Robert Lopez-Mendy’s eighth minute strike was enough for Kaya as the Sparks failed to convert their chances.

The LBC-backed squad is expected to have a complete squad for the clash. The Sparks, however, is hoping for skipper James Younghusband’s fitness. The winger picked up an injury last Monday as the Philippines bowed to DPR Korea in a 1-3 defeat.

A win for any of the three teams playing tonight will increase their chances of getting a somewhat firmer hold of second place.

Tickets are available at the gate. — CAL

Stephan Schrock Shines as Ceres Drubs Loyola

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Their backs to the wall, Ceres-La Salle FC came out blazing. The Bacolod side claimed a convincing 4-1 win over the Loyola Meralco Sparks to revitalize their bid for second place on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Stephan Schrock put on a mesmerizing performance for the defending champions. The Azkals midfielder made the Sparks pay for their defense by scoring a hat-trick to put Ceres in prime position for second place.

Risto Vidakovic’s side moved back into second place with 35 points, level with JP Voltes. Ceres, however, hold a sizeable gap on goal difference with +79 compared to Voltes’ +31. Both Ceres and Loyola also have games in hand over Voltes.

“It was crucial for us (to win) because if we lose today, our league (campaign) is done but now we still have a chance on second,” said Vidakovic. “We have two games left and we have to give our best.”

Schrock broke the deadlock just eight minutes into the match. The midfielder sent a looping free kick that caught Sparks goalkeeper Guilherme Hasegawa off his line.

The Ceres midfielder continued on with a second goal in the 21st minute. Hasegawa made a blunder when his short pass fell into the path of Bienvenido Marañon. The Spaniard released Schrock inside the box to score the second goal of the match.

The Sparks, despite being unable to penetrate the defense, came close to getting a goal back in the 34th minute. James Younghusband was on the end of a Phil Younghusband corner but headed the chance wide. The first half ended with Ceres in the driver’s seat at 2-0.

It turned from bad to worse for the Sparks as Manny Ott made it 3-0 in the 51st minute. Schrock delivered the inviting ball for Ott to finish from just inside the penalty area.

Schrock completed his hat-trick in the 82nd minute. The midfielder went one-on-one with Hasegawa and slotted it to the far post.

The Sparks did get a consolation when Simon Greatwich scored in the 88th minute, but it was not enough. Ceres now have the upper hand in the race for second place.

In the first game, Kaya FC walloped Laos FC, 8-0. Louis Clark fired a hat-trick while Kenshiro Daniels added a brace. Sean Kane, Junior Muñoz, and Janrick Soriano added the cherries on the top. — CAL

Late Kaya Goal Stuns Ceres

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Miguel Tanton left it late for Kaya FC to pick up a crucial 1-nil win over defending champions Ceres-La Salle FC last Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Kaya midfielder, who came on as a first half sub, struck in the first minute of added time to pick up the three points in a match that had to be played in near darkness after the 80th minute.

The loss puts Ceres in a dangerous position as Loyola Meralco Sparks and JP Voltes have been given motivation in the chase for second place.

The Bacolod side started strong and came close to scoring in the eighth minute. Bienvenido Marañon laid the ball to Manny Ott but the shot was straight to Matthew Acton.

Ceres were dumbfounded in the 13th minute when they went a man down. Defender Valentine Kama was given a straight red card for a lunge on Jovin Bedic away from the ball.

Junior Muñoz again came close for his side in the 32nd minute. Jason Sabio’s clearance went to the path of Muñoz but his effort went over Eduard Sacapaño.

Kaya also went a man down five minutes before the break as Shirmar Felongco was given his marching orders after Marañon went down near the touchline. The first half ended at 0-0.

The second half saw Ceres with more intent, making several more attempts on goal. Adrian Gallardo had a chance in the 48th minute off Carli De Murga’s cross but the header went over. Ott had another chance in the 52nd minute but was denied by Acton.

Substitute Robert Lopez-Mendy almost made it 1-0  for Kaya in the 70th minute. The forward had only Sacapaño to beat but the Ceres stopper managed to tip the ball over the bar.

Stephan Schrock had his chance denied by the post in the 83rd minute and Marañon sent his chance wide two minutes later to set up a thrilling finish.

With time running out and darkness settling over the stadium affecting the players, Tanton loomed large and finally won it for Kaya. The midfielder was sent free by an Adam Reed ball in the box and sent a shot that beat Sacapaño to give Kaya the full three points. Tanton was sent off after the goal for removing his jersey, but it did not matter to the Kaya player after he reinvigorated the team with the late winner. — CAL

Stallion Forge Draw vs Kaya

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Stallion FC delivered a huge blow to Kaya FC’s title aspirations with a 2-2 draw in the United Football League last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The result left Kaya in fifth place with 25 points, 13 points adrift of League leaders Global FC. Stallion are just behind Kaya by a solitary point with 24.

Jovin Bedic put Kaya ahead in the 22nd minute. The forward, who recently played a part in the Azkals’ 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan last Tuesday, drilled in a low half-volley to the bottom corner.

Nate Alquiros forced a deadlock with five minutes left in the first half. The winger delivered a shot from a tight angle that crept the underside of the cross bar as the first half ended at 1-1.

Louis Clark gave Kaya the lead again in the 55th minute. A mad scramble ensued in the Stallion box and it allowed the winger to prod the goal home.

However, Azkals debutant Fitch Arboleda made it 2-2 just three minutes later, when he went for a diving header to slam in Christian Nana’s cross.

Both sides came close to scoring the winner late in the match. Ruben Doctora had the golden opportunity to take the lead in the 82nd minute from a breakaway. However, Matthew Acton’s presence forced the Stallion skipper’s shot over the bar.

Controversy ensued in stoppage time, when Clark had his header denied off the line by Samuel Bonney. The Kaya players insisted that the ball had already gone in prior to Bonney’s clearance. However, the referee was undeterred in calling at a clearance. The match finished at 2-2.

In the first match, Green Archers United FC claimed a 4-0 win over Laos FC. Reynald Villareal struck twice while Nam Gi Won and Chieffy Caligdong added a goal each.

Defending champions Ceres-La Salle FC return to action against Forza FC this Wednesday, September 15 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. — CAL

Sparks, Kaya Victorious in UFL League Return

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The resumption of the 2016 United Football League season saw Loyola Meralco Sparks FC and Kaya FC start the second round on positive notes.

The Sparks began their game against Forza FC on the wrong foot but recovered in the second half to win 5-1. Forza surprised the Sparks by drawing first blood in the 23rd minute when Sparks goalkeeper Ace Villanueva went off his line and Arvin Gaspe was through on goal. The Forza winger outsmarted Villanueva with a cutback to Lionel Ndoe Mekong, who sent it into an open goal. The goal rattled the Sparks, who had already missed several chances on goal.

The second half was a different story as the match turned on its head. Forza went a man down in the 51st minute after Ndoe Mekong was sent off for a deliberate foul on Anto Gonzales. The Sparks midfielder suffered a cut in his right eye and was replaced minutes later. Nicolas Ferrer was also sent off in the 60th minute for dissent. Forza finished the game with nine men.

The sending off opened the door for the Sparks to attack. Alvaro Castiella equalized in the 53rd minute with an individual effort. Phil Younghusband scored the next two goals in the 55th and 58th minutes. Kouichi Belgira and Jinggoy Valmayor also found the target in the 73rd and 90th minute. The win lifted the Sparks to third place in the standings.

Kaya FC dealt JP Voltes’ first defeat in five games in a tight 1-0 contest in the second match. Louis Clark scored the winning goal in the 16th minute after he was brought down by Camelo Tacusalme in the box. The win propelled Kaya within striking distance of JP Voltes.

“They (JP Voltes) had a really good first half of the season and it’s important that we close that gap,” said Kaya coach Chris Greatwich. “Today we were more resolute and I am pleased by the fact that we ultimately came away with the three points.”

Laos FC and Stallion FC begin their second round campaign in Sunday’s first game at 1:30 PM. Green Archers United FC and Ceres-La Salle FC battle in the second game at 4:00 PM. Both games will be at Rizal Memorial Stadium. — CAL

Mid-Year Musings on Philippine Football

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The first half of the year has come and gone with plenty of talking points surrounding Philippine Football. The Perfect Pass attempts to discuss these points in the hope of making some sense of them.

AFC Champions League Playoff Slot

With Ceres-La Salle and Kaya FC going deep into the AFC Cup, it only meant that our Member Association (MA) rankings would rise as well. Ceres and Kaya earned 15 and 13 points respectively from their AFC Cup campaign. The points are a sum of Group Stage points plus 3 points for every level they reach past the group stage. The average points of the two clubs divided by three would be the actual AFC Champions League club points earned by the PFF (the UFL’s MA) for the year.

Global earned 5 points last year which leads to 1.67 points for 2015 plus Ceres & Kaya’s average of 14 would add another 4.67 points for 2016. Points earned for the last four years are added up and are compared to the highest MA (who gets full 70 club points). The MA will get points in proportion to MA 1’s points and these are added to National team points (the other 30 points) based from FIFA Rankings points.

As of June 3, the Philippines has earned 20.19 points which makes it the 11th of 12 (East) countries who can join the AFC Champions league next year. Automatically, this slot will be given to the league champions which makes the UFL title race even more interesting. A big stumbling block however are the Club licensing regulations, which is a different animal altogether.

Two-horse UFL Title Race

Third place JP Voltes have the tools but do not have the depth to challenge for the top spot at the moment. Loyola and Kaya recently had mixed results which may make you question their resolve leading into the second round. This year looks to be a two-horse race between Global and Ceres and the last match in the first round gave us a taste of what could happen in the end.

Global is still unbeaten. Ceres, who only lost its opening match, has been stellar of late. Key players have departed from both squads but they have still maintained their intensity at the end of the first round. If both teams find themselves unbeaten up to the final day, it will definitely be an explosive decider come October.

Pressure will definitely be on Ceres as the lower teams will attempt to fill the gap and chase the all-important number two spot. The recent coaching change will add pressure on them, as learning a new system will take time given that UFL and Singapore Cup matches are already on the horizon. The team has taken a quick vacation but have returned to Bacolod to work on their game for the next two weeks.

Global has the upper hand in this contest, leading on points, but have an issue on goal difference. It would be prudent for the squad to try and trim or overcome Ceres’ sizeable +20 goal advantage. This will push the odds in their favor, in case the team from Bacolod goes unbeaten or ends up with an identical win-loss record by the end of the second round.

Where is Ceres?

Ceres earned some flak in PH Football social media for not releasing players for the Azkals and the All Star Break. The complaints are valid given the clamor of fans to see their idols in different venues such as Vigan and the UFL All Star weekend. At the moment, the club is back home in Bacolod training with their new coach Risto Vidakovic, with plenty of RNR in between.

In some way, it’s a bit justified for them to take a break because of the number of games they’ve played since the start of the year, not to mention the travel involved. As of the break, Ceres has played 30 games total in four different tournaments. In comparison, Kaya has played 26, while Global played 23. Add the fact that Ceres had to play their AFC Cup games in Bacolod made it more difficult for them than the others.

The best outcome for their non-appearance is the influx of new talent to the Azkals training pool. Guys like Camelo Tacusalme, Jinggoy Valmayor, and the former U23 guys now have the chance to match against A-league players including Socceroo’s Chrish Herd, Rhys Williams, and Josh Risdon. When the current batch of Azkals are past their prime, it will be this batch who will have to carry the flag. From that perspective, it might be seen as a sort of a win-win for everyone. — CAL

Ivan Gayares is the brain behind The Perfect Pass. This Bacolodnon is a full-time IT Business Analyst and football fanatic, a part-time writer, and sometimes (free of charge) scout. He has a favorite team in the UFL.

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