By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo women’s team took home the 2023 Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Women’s League crown after a 1-0 victory against the Manila Digger FC in the finals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night, November 11.
Sheen Nicole Ramores’ close-range conversion in the 86th minute served as the difference maker as the Iloilo City-based football club captured the tournament championship for the first time.
Kaya-Iloilo women’s head coach Marnelli Dimzon admitted that she expected a tight championship against Manila Digger as the latter was one of the talented squads in the competition.
“Facing the Manila Digger [in the finals] was both exciting and challenging. I told my players to maintain their focus and adapt to setbacks and challenges during the game,” Dimzon said.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard to reach this point, and now, we are happy to go all the way,” she said.
“It’s about maintaining a never-give-up attitude,” the former national team mentor added.
On their way to the championship round, Kaya-Iloilo women’s defeated the three-time champion De La Salle University Lady Booters, 2-1, courtesy of goals from Shelah Cadag and Negrense Hazel Lustan.
On the other hand, the Manila Digger advanced to the gold medal round following their 4-3 penalty kick semifinals victory against the top-seed Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws.
Meanwhile, the Lady Tamaraws salvaged a bronze medal finish in the competition as they defeated the dethroned champion, the Lady Booters, 2-1, in the battle-for-third place game.
Carmela Altiche surged the Lady Tamaraws ahead at 1-0 with her 34th-minute connection, but the Lady Booters managed to tie the score at 1-1 via a penalty shot by Angelica Teves in the 49th minute.
The Chols Villarino-mentored Lady Tamaraws seized the advantage for good in the 53rd minute courtesy of a connection from team captain Dionesa Tolentin before they tightened their defense on the Lady Booters the rest of the way./ASC, WDJ