THE Philippine men’s under-22 team is not only out to participate at the Copa Paulino Alcantara but to make waves as well. This, after it booked its first victory right on its tournament debut on Sunday at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa City, Batangas.
Using its Cup participation as part of its preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country is hosting beginning late next month, the Azkals U22 did not waste time creating noise, defeating Green Archers United FC, 1-0.
Chima Uzoka provided what turned out to be the winning goal in the 51st minute off a header from a corner kick.
The goal sent the nationals to a celebration.
GAU tried to make up for the goal it allowed only to fall short in its thrust.
With the win, the U22 team found itself on top of Group A with three points, ahead of three-time Philippines Football League champion Ceres-Negros FC and Mendiola FC 1991 which have a point each from their 2-2 draw on Oct. 26.
Aside from Mr. Uzoka, also part of the U22 seeing action in the Copa Paulino Alcantara are AJ Arcilla, Michael Asong, JB Borlongan, Fritz Brigoli, Pocholo Bugas, Marco Casambre, Oliver Corbitt, Vince Diano, Dean Ebarle, Yrick Gallantes and Jarvey Gayoso.
Also in the team are Jordan Jarvis, Troy Limbo, Jovan Marfiga, Jerome Marzan, Griffin McDaniel, Ivan Ouano, Anthony Pinthus, Renz Saldivar, JR Suba and Edison Suerti.
The Azkals U22 takes on Ceres on Oct. 30 at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna while GAU meets up with Mendiola also Wednesday at the Aboitiz Pitch.
Named after Filipino-Spanish football great Paulino Alcantara who played for FC Barcelona, the Cup runs until Nov. 16.
The 2019 Cup tournament has seven teams competing divided into two groups.
Tournament format has the teams meeting their group mates once with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals with the group winners facing the runner-up teams from the other group. The higher seeded teams will host the one-off semifinals. The final will consist of a single match as well.
The Copa Paulino Alcantara is shown livestream over www.pfltv.ph and on Facebook live (Philippines only). — Michael Angelo S. Murillo