This is the schedule for the UFL League Cup Elite Eight:
Sunday, October 26
5:15pm – Ceres-La Salle vs Stallion
8:15pm – Global vs Laos
Monday, October 27
5:15pm – Pachanga Diliman vs Manila All-Japan
8:15pm – Kaya vs Loyola Meralco Sparks
All games in Rizal Memorial. Please come on over to watch. TV5’s television coverage begins in the semifinals.
The pick of the four games has to be Loyola versus Kaya. Loyola’s Anton Del Rosario and Eddie Mallari will play against their old club. It still looks strange seeing them in Loyola kits.
The matchups were made via random draw. The seedings/placings from the group stages were not used. After the quarterfinals, another random draw will determine semifinal pairings.
Not sure I’m a big fan of the random draw for this competition. Since there is no incentive for finishing first in your group, Thursday’s Kaya-Global game was essentially a non-bearing game, since both had qualified. (Kaya won 2-1.)
The UFL could have scheduled this marquee game early on in the competition to ensure that it would be competitive. Instead it was on the last group stage playdate, when the quarterfinal slots had already been settled.
I was told the league wanted something different for this tournament, hence the blind draw a la UEFA Champions League. I suggest the following: make the top seeds in each group CHOOSE who they play in the quarterfinals, followed by the next two. That way arranging/dodging opponents is avoided, but there is still a reason to go for the first seed because you can pick a weak team to play.
With nothing to play for and an elite eight match possibly on Sunday, Global rested a bunch of players, like Mark Hartmann, Curt Dizon and Raul Martinez. Kaya seemed to field a stronger lineup and got first half goals from Jovin Bedic and Diego Barrera. Milad Behgandom scored for Leigh Manson’s side in the second half.
Global has, as always, new toys. Hikaru Minegishi started at right wing, and Satoshi Otomo played deep in the center of the park. Both are Filipino-Japanese but I have been told they are still in the process of acquiring their passports. Edgar Briones, a Filipino-Mexican, played up top. Claretian Marco Casambre got a start alongside Amani Aguinaldo at central defender.
It as my first time to see either team in the League Cup. Junior Munoz is back with Kaya and Younousse Yaogo, late of Ceres, has also joined the black-and-gold crew.
Ceres defeated Army 3-0 with nine Filipino starters. Props to them. Ed Sacapaño played goalie against his former club.
Pity I missed the second game, where Loyola beat Stallion via a futsal score, 6-4.
Hope to see you all on Sunday and Monday!
Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH.