Kaya sees rough road ahead in UFL title defense
(The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2016 - 9:00am

Matches on Feb 6 (Rizal Memorial Stadium)

4 p.m. – Forza vs Agila

6:15 p.m. – Pasargad vs Global

8:30 p.m. – JP Voltes vs Laos

Matches on Feb 7  (Rizal Memorial Stadium)

4 p.m. –  Nomads vs Archers

6:15 p.m. – Kaya vs Stallion

8:30 p.m. – Loyola vs Ceres

 

MANILA, Philippines – Kaya FC braces for a fierce challenge as it defends the United Football League (UFL) Cup diadem beginning next month.

Kaya found itself bunched with powerhouse Stallion FC in Group A after Wednesday’s draw along with four former second division clubs.

Division 2 titlist Laos, Forza, Agila, and JP Voltes, which reached the quarterfinals of the competition last season, crowd Kaya and Stallion in the group.

“We’re a bit annoyed that we have a short time to celebrate our championship, but that’s the motivation,” said Kaya manager Paul Tolentino, whose side faces Stallion on Feb. 7 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Used to be the season-ending tourney in the UFL calendar, the Cup will kick off in 2016 instead. A berth in the AFC Cup will be at stake again.

“It will be harder this time because it’s the first tournament of the season and everyone wants to win it,” said Tolentino.

League titlist Ceres-La Salle, which placed second to Kaya in the 2015 Cup finals, headlines Group B which is largely considered the “Group of Death.”

With Ceres are last year’s semifinalist Loyola Meralco Sparks, former Cup and league champion Global, second division side Green Archers United, Nomads and Pasargad.

Global fell to Pot 4 in the draw after it was disqualified in the Cup last year.

According to UFL technical director Ritchie Gannaban, clubs with “perceived bias” to each other like Global and Laos must play in separate groups. So when Laos was drawn to Group A, Global automatically landed in Group B.

The same was applied with Agila and Loyola Meralco as well as Green Archers and Forza.

“Group A looks easier which means our knockout round is going to be harder,” Tolentino said. “We know it’s going to be dangerous heading into the knockout round.”

ACIRC AGILA AGILA AND LOYOLA MERALCO CERES-LA SALLE FEB FORZA GROUP A GROUP B KAYA NBSP RIZAL MEMORIAL STADIUM
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