By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo had a dominant start in the 2023 Copa Paulino Alcantara as it walloped Loyola Football Club, 7-0, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday evening, August 12.
Fitch Arboleda and Justin Baas completed a brace each, while newcomers Ricardo Sendra, Abou Sy and Mark Swainston added a conversion apiece as Kaya-Iloilo kicked off its title defense on a positive note.
“Good effort sa game and hard work ang ipinakita namin,” Arboleda, who was named as the Man of the Match, said.
“Sinasabi ni coach na dapat lagi kaming to win convincingly against any opponent,” he added.
Kaya-Iloilo got on the board as early as the 11th minute as Sendra converted a fantastic header from a corner pass by Daizo Horikoshi before the lead was doubled with a connection from Arboleda in the 30th minute.
Baas then made his presence felt for Kaya-Iloilo with a close-range connection in the 34th minute before Arboleda completed his first half brace with a distant strike in the 43rd minute.
In the second half, Baas found a way to squeeze in his lefty strike for his second goal of the night on the 50th-minute mark and increase the defending champion’s advantage to 5-0.
Kaya-Iloilo continued its onslaught as Senegalese Sy got himself on the scoresheet with a tidy finish in front of goal in the 57th minute before Swainston made his debut for the Ilonggos with an 89th-minute goal.
“I am very very happy with the effort of the players,” Kaya-Iloilo head coach Colum Curtis said.
“Practically, there are a lot of new concepts introduced to the team, but the players did fantastically [in our first game] and they play with desire,” he said.
“The [Kaya-Iloilo management] told me that the last couple of games against Loyola are very close, so we are glad that we have a convincing win against them,” he said.
“We got a really good group of players and it’s my job to get the best out of them,” he added.
The Iloilo City-based booters will have a one-week break before resuming action against Don Bosco Garelli United on Saturday, August 19 at 4:00 p.m. at the same venue./ASC, WDJ