Named after the greatest Filipino football legend, the Copa Paulino Alcantara is the first-ever cup football at the professional club level in the country – that fact alone gets the players excited for its kick off on September 1.
Each of the six teams competing for the cup has sent players to represent their club at the press conference – all of which expressed their excitement for such another breakthrough for Philippine football.
“We are all looking forward to the competition, it is another chance to reach our goal, another opportunity for us to raise our level of competition, another chance to help in the development of Philippine football.” says Azkals and Davao Aguilas FC skipper Phil Younghusband
— Xy-Zha Cabanlong (@_ichbinxyzha) August 26, 2018
Most may be expecting that the back-to-back league champions, Ceres-Negros FC will be taking this competition less seriously because they are more focused in representing the Philippines in the AFC-level competitions, Curt Dizon says otherwise.
“We have achieved our target of winning the league and potentially playing at the Champion’s League football then obviously securing our seats up. But of course, we are going to approach the cup as professional as possible and go out there and try to win it.”
Contrary to the format of the recently concluded second season of the Philippines Football League, the Copa Paulino Alcantara is more of the do-or-die match, wherein the six competing teams are separated into two groups of three teams and will battle each other out in the group stages as if there is no tomorrow. Such format of the cup makes it all the more exciting for both the players and their respective clubs as they can assure their faithfuls that the competition will not only give fast-paced kind of football but also fixtures that are potential of giving unexpected results.
“The cup will be good, can’t underestimate any of the teams. You’ll never know what can happen, its football.” says Stallion-Laguna FC stalwart Yannick Tuason
“I think the cup has been a long time coming, I’ve been looking forward to it all year long. I think it is great that it is the first time that it is happening, as a player, it is great to be a part of that. I think my teammates and even those from the other clubs are already familiar with each other, but with the cup format, friendships aside, everyone knows that it is do-or-die so the concentration and the competitiveness is going to be there so I am excited.” Kaya-Iloilo FC’s Miguel Tanton added
The Copa Paulino Alcantara kicks off at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on the first day of September with a double header; Kaya-Iloilo FC taking on Global-Cebu FC at 4pm then Ceres-Negros FC going up against Davao Aguilas at 7pm.
Photo credit: Philippines Football League