Kaya-Iloilo stuns Azkals Development Team in PFL opener

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Kaya-Iloilo stuns Azkals Development Team in PFL opener

MANILA, Philippines – Eric Giganto broke the hearts of the Azkals Development Team when he scored a header that just blew past the flailing hands of the latter’s Julian Schwarzer with a minute left in regular time, lifting Kaya-Iloilo to a 1-nil win in the opening match of the Philippines Football League’s new season at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Giganto, a late substitute for Kaya-Iloilo, actually had two earlier chances to score late in game but he flubbed each shot, including one that went straight to Schwarzer when he was better served slipping under toward the first post.

The goal sucked out the air from the ADT, which performed gallantly all match long. The youngsters allowed only three shots at goal in the first half of play. Kaya-Iloilo adjusted upon the resumption of play and began to test Schwarzer in earnest. 

However, late in the game, the ADT through Dennis Cheung, Syrun Saut and John Lloyd Jalique began to make runs and attacks deep inside Kaya territory. 

Cheung had superb chances late in the game right before Giganto’s game-winner. The best one was when he split the defense and was able to fire away, but his shot went wide right. 

The ADT gave Kaya-Iloilo a tough fight. Save for the middle of the second half and towards the end of the match, the ADT played superb defense.

Although Kaya-Iloilo got off nine shots, only three were on target. The ADT squeezed in two good shots but they didn’t trouble Kaya-Iloilo keeper Kenry Balobo. 

Kaya-Iloilo also had two corner kicks with the last one being converted by Giganto.

“Given that the ADT was only able to train for less than two weeks and going up against a Kaya team that has competed in the AFC Champions League and has been training for months (we did just alright)” said ADT head coach Jovanie Villagracia. “Then we were missing our striker Andres Aldeguer and he is our only legitimate striker). 
Said winger Yrick Gallantes: “I think as a team we did very well considering we have only been together for a little while. We held one of the top teams in the Philippines till the last few minutes of the game and we are proud of that. We were unlucky not to get the draw, but we did very well to manage the game. It's one of those games where a top team like that needs to focus and concentrate till the last whistle or they will take advantage with any chance they get. We have a lot to improve but nothing we can’t handle, it’ll take time but we trust the process and our coaches.”

Aldeguer is in the United States to try out for several US Division 1 colleges that invited him. He is expected to suit up for the ADT’s next match.

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