|Photo from Fritz Dalida of Soccer Central Philippines|
The stakes get raised. With a new cup winner sure to be crowned, Global FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks, Penson Stallion Gilligan's and Green Archers United are raring to go this Tuesday at the fabled Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Kicking off the double header at 5pm is the star-studded matchup of Global FC and the Loyola Meralco Sparks. Global won Group A and beat Kaya FC in extra time to book their seat in the semifinals, while Loyola won Group C and easily dispatched Philippine Army to finalize their matchup with the league champions.
Both sides will be fielding their key stars but whilst the Loyola players called up for the upcoming friendly are reportedly going to be made available for the semifinal, no details have been made available from Global with regards to their players' availability, other than this statement. If the national team players are unavailable, expect Alex Obiang, Jerry Barbaso, Yu Hoshide and newcomer Kevin Capolei to shoulder the load alongside Izzo El-Habbib for Global against the self-styled "Wolfpack" of Loyola.
Global has yet to win against Loyola in its recent past, as it drew 1-1 and lost 4-3 in league action. Both B.Y. Jeong and Izzo scored on their league matches against each other.
The night cap will feature teams that needed penalty shootouts to gain entry into the semifinals. Group D winners Stallion survived the lone surviving play-in entrant General Trias International FC, while Group B winners Green Archers handled Division II champions Pachanga-Diliman.
Stallion has been dominant of GAU as of late, scoring five goals in both of their league matches, with three each coming from Ruben Doctora and Jovanie Simpron. On the other hand, Tating Pasilan has scored all three goals for GAU in their league matches against the Ernie Nierras-coached side.
No details have been made available with regards to Stallion's lone call-up to the national team, Jason de Jong, as to whether he will be playing, but someone who was previously ruled out has been made available, as starting GK Wilson Munoz will be wearing a mask in order to play in the semifinal.
In preparing for this matchup, GAU played against the national team on Saturday afternoon in the University of Makati, losing 5-0.
Expect UAAP standouts in Jesus Melliza, Ronnie Aguisanda and Patrick Deyto to help out Pasilan and Arnie Pasinabo in their effort to pull out a victory for GAU, while new addition from CFIM Rufo and Joaco aim to be the extra oomph needed to pilot the Stallion stampede towards the Cup.