In two days, the highly anticipated first leg of the PFL semifinal tie between Kaya Makati and Ceres Negros takes place at the University of Makati. Given the regular season history shared by the two clubs, Sunday’s match, which kicks off at 4pm, is expected to be an explosive affair.
And although the Bacolod powerhouse holds a commanding record of three wins and one draw over the home side this season, Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida is grateful for the matchup.
“We thank Ceres for the opportunity they’ve given us. Playing against them in the semifinals, that gives us a chance to redeem ourselves,” he said. “We’re the club that finished the season early so we’ve had two weeks preparation going into the Finals Series, and we’ve taken advantage of that.”
Captain Masanari Omura echoed his coach’s delight at the semifinal pairing.
“I’m so excited to play against Ceres in the semifinals. Also, it’s our last game at UMak, so we have to show the fans what Kaya is about,” said the Japanese center back. “They are a strong team, a strong side. But we’re okay playing with them. We know how to play also.”
Kaya Makati will be without the services of Adam Reed, however, as the midfielder is serving suspensions for infractions from earlier in the season. Instead, Reed has joined up with the team representing the Philippines in a tournament in Taiwan. His distribution and defensive prowess will be missed, but coach Marcaida remains confident in the team’s ability to cope.
“The spirit of every individual in the team has been very impressive. With how the players have been performing in training, I think we were able to see the rotation in place of the players out suspended for Sunday’s game,” he said. “We’re always up for the challenge. As long as we work together everyone will achieve more.”
Facing the recent AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions, and a team that holds a dominant record over Kaya, the gravity of the task is not lost on Coach Noel, but it certainly has not dampened his outlook.
“It’s always nice to enter the Finals Series with the underdog card. We have nothing to lose. We just need to go out and play our best game of the season,” he said. “The players whose hunger to win the title [is greater] will get the positive result.”
Tickets are available now via SM Tickets (https://www.smtickets.com/events/view/6272), and will be available at the venue as well.
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