By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Ilonggo Jovin Bedic was the difference maker as Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo edged Dynamic Herb Cebu, 1-0, in the 2021 Copa Paulino Alcantara semifinals on Tuesday night at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
With both teams scoreless, the Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo-native Bedic put the ball past Cebu goalkeeper Nathaniel Villanueva at the 86th minute to surge the Iloilo City-based booters ahead for good.
“Of course every semifinals, napakahirap,” said Bedic. “First half nung 0-0, na-fru-frustrate kami siyempre… But nakuha pa rin namin ‘yung goal namin makapasok sa finals. Big respect to Cebu. Magaling ang team nila.”
Kaya-Iloilo head coach Yu Hoshide, for his part, said he is grateful for the opportunity for them to reclaim the Copa Paulino Alcantara trophy which they first held during the inaugural season in 2018.
“It was really a tough game,” Hoshide said in a post-match interview. “I really respect Cebu FC. It was a really organized team. We really needed to be patient. That’s key for us today.”
Azkals Development Team, on the other hand, relied on Yrick Gallantes conversion in the extension period to beat Stallion Laguna Football Club, 2-1, in the other semifinals series.
Stallion-Laguna actually broke the deadlock in the second half with Abraham Placito’s conversion at the 53rd minute mark, Azkals answered back with a hit from Jarvey Gayoso.
As both teams still tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, a 30-minute extension period was held where the Azkals Development Team broke the deadlock with Gallantes’ hit at the 116th minute mark.
“Stallion really pushed us to the limit,” said Azkals Development Team mentor Jovanie Villagracia. “I’m very happy with the performance kasi nakikita mo na ‘yung ADT at a very young age, hindi nawawala ang disiplina.”
The Kaya Iloilo-Azkals finale is scheduled this Friday, November 19, with kickoff scheduled at 8:15 p.m. On the other hand, Dynamic Herb and Stallion Laguna will play in the third-place playoff at 4:00 p.m./ASC, WDJ