Davao Aguilas eager to prove a point as they begin their PFL 2018 campaign against Kaya

Xavi takes his first training camp as Al Sadd coach

THE new-look Davao Aguilas will be quickly put to the test as they host Kaya Iloilo FC to open their 2018 Philippines Football League campaign on Sunday at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City.

The Aguilas are coming off a busy offseason and the optimism is high heading into the second season of the PFL. That’s why head coach Marlon Maro is confident that they’ll be passing the initial test with flying colors.

“We’re happy to play again in our nest in Tagum and we expect tomorrow to be a very good match between the two teams,” said Maro.

“The win tomorrow belongs to Davao,” he added.

Finishing seventh last season, the Aguilas look to soar to new heights following the acquisition of key players bannered by former Global Cebu midfielder and national team mainstay Dennis Villanueva.

Villanueva heads the nine new acquisitions over the preseason which will be joining the likes of Phil and James Younghusband, Dylan de Bruycker, Simone Rota, Angel Guirado and Dylan de Bruycker among others in this campaign.

With all the new signings – the expectations are definitely high for Davao and they are certainly ready to meet those expectations.

“We expect the expectations, not only from supporters and the fans but from the club owners and the management as well,” said Maro who revealed that they will be missing newcomers Adam Reed and Takashi Odawara due to suspensions which carried over from last season.

“As a professional team, we have to adapt to these challenges. We won’t be having Adam Reed and Odawara tomorrow so it’s another adjustment for the club. This gives a chance to prove that we have a deep bench and that we have good players from every position,” he added. “We have to be positive, our objective is to have a good start.”

While Davao was the busier squad in the offseason, Kaya hopes to rely heavily on their familiarity as they try to rain down on the hosts’ parade.

If there’s a time to beat this re-tooled Aguilas side, now would be the right time with familiarity still possibly an issue to the Jefferson Cheng-owned squad.

“The team is intact from last year. I think that’s one thing that we have an advantage over Davao,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.

“It’s not easy to have chemistry in a span of two three months. It’s going to be an interesting game for tomorrow,” he added.