KAYA FC-Iloilo kicked off its Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign on a winning note on Sunday, defeating the Azkals Development Team (ADT), 2-0, in Group B play at the Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Second-half goals from Daizo Horikoshi (54′) and Simone Rota (70′) towed Kaya to the win that pushed it closer to booking a spot in the next round of the competition and propel its push to the title it won in 2018.
The contest was tightly fought in the opening half, with the teams fighting to a goalless draw.
ADT continued to stand toe-to-toe with its more experienced opponent early in the second fold until Mr. Horikoshi broke through for Kaya.
The young nationals tried to get back the goal after, only to be frustrated by Kaya, with Mr. Rota giving his team further cushion.
Kaya would stay the course the rest of the way, even when things got physical late in the contest, en route to the victory.
The club now tries to sweep its group assignments in its scheduled match with Mendiola FC 1991 on Wednesday set for 4 p.m.
ADT, for its part, takes on Mendiola on Nov. 13.
Playing in Group A, meanwhile, are Stallion Laguna FC and newcomer Dynamic Herb Cebu FC.
Reigning Philippines Football League (PFL) champion United City Football Club was supposed to play in Group A but last week decided to pull out.
The development leaves Stallion and Cebu as the remaining clubs that will contest the top seeding in the group for the crossover semifinals.
The Copa Paulino Alcantara marks the return of football competition in the country after a year since the PFL staged its “bubble” tournament in 2020.
Copa matches are shown over One Sports and One Sports+ as well as on the PFL’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.