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Top football clubs clash in UFL season opener

MANILA, Philippines - The 2012 season of the United Football League Cup will be ushered in with power-packed matches featuring newly crowned League champion Global FC against Pasargad FC and another title favorite Kaya FC versus Green Archers United FC on Tuesday at the University of Makati field in Makati City.

No less than UFL chair Santi Araneta, president Randy Roxas and new league commissioner Bonnie Ladrido along with Sports5 manager Vitto Lazatin opened the season with the traditional drawing of lots in a press conference at the Krocodile Grille in Greenbelt 3 in Makati City. 

Pasargad FC, Navy, General Trias and Team Socceroo make up Group A while Green Archers United, Diliman FC, Forza FC and Dolphins United FC are in Group B with Global.

Group C is composed of Loyola Meralco Sparks, Nomads, Pachanga, Laos FC and Mendiola FC while defending champion Air Force and Stallion Gilligans head the Group D cast, which includes Army, Sta. Lucia FC and Agilas FC.

“Compared to last year, there will be no ‘Group of Death’ this year because all the teams got the fair and equal distribution of players,” said Araneta. 

Meanwhile, the league has inked a deal with new television partner AKTV with the games to be shown on IBC 13 on prime time twice a week instead of its previous weekend schedule of Saturday games.

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This means that UFL games will be aired live Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Oct. 2 with the Global-Pasargad duel at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. clash between Kaya-Green Archers United matches at the UMak.

“We’re excited to say that the UFL will now be shown twice a week instead of our usual Saturday schedule,” said Lazatin.

Roxas, meanwhile, said that brothers Phil and James Younghusband will see action for the Loyola-Meralco Sparks.

While the 16 teams went through the drawing process, Global, Loyola, Kaya and Stallion were seeded in different groups outright.

Global, for one, has acquired Fil-German Denis Santos Wolf, who scored a hat-trick in the Azkals’ 5-0 demolition of Macau in the Peace Cup last Thursday, in place of its top striker, Fil-Spanish Angel Guirado, who had 12 goals last season but opted to bolt out of Global to suit up with an Indian club.

The Edwin Cabalida-coached Global will also have Marvin and Marwin Angeles to team up with Misagh Bahadoran and Izzo El Habbib.

Meralco, on the other hand, will be led by the Younghusbands along with Chad Gould, PJ Fasdrigalan, and Koreans Byeong Yeol Jeong, Park Minho, Jo Won Jang and Hoon Goo Heo.

Kaya, meanwhile, will be headed by playing team captain and assistant coach Aly Borromeo, who was sidelined by an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury last year.

Joining Borromeo in the squad are Ivory Coast’s Eric Dagroh, Nate Burkey, Yannick Tuason, Eddie Mallari, Jason Sabio, Anton and Armand del Rosario, Jonah Romero, Lexton Moy and Kross Ubiam.

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