Davao Aguilas-University of Makati Advances to Copa Alcantara Final

Davao Aguilas-University of Makati, the surprise package of the Copa Paulino Alcantara, is one step away from completing a fairytale journey to the final. A 1-1 draw with Dynamic Herb Cebu in the second leg of the semifinals secured a 2-1 aggregate victory, booking their place in the championship match against Kaya-Iloilo.

In a heated battle at Rizal Memorial Stadium, Paolo Bugas’ screamer in the late second half provided the Aguilas the crucial cushion they needed to stun the favored Gentle Giants. This outcome sets the stage for a thrilling rematch of the 2018 title clash with Kaya, promising an exciting final showdown.

Kaya advanced to the final by defeating Stallion-Laguna with a 4-2 aggregate score, marking their fifth appearance in the championship game in as many editions.

Davao Aguilas-University of Makati, the only team outside of the Philippines Football League (PFL) still in contention, entered the expanded domestic cup tournament, which included a record field of 17 teams from amateur, collegiate, and Armed Forces divisions. The Aguilas arrived with modest expectations but have defied the odds.

Finishing second in Group C, they eliminated CF Manila, another non-PFL side, in the quarterfinals. Their journey to the final has been nothing short of remarkable.

Davao’s victory in the first leg, courtesy of Troy Limbo’s first-half goal, set the tone for their Cinderella run.

Despite Cebu’s attempts to level the tie, the Aguilas displayed resolute defense, with goalkeeper Dino Ouattara making several crucial saves. A second yellow card sent off Baris Tasci in the second half, giving Davao a manpower advantage. In a surprising turn of events, Bugas produced a spectacular goal near the midline that left Cebu keeper Jun Badelic stunned.

Although Cebu’s Ivan Ouano managed to score a late goal, cutting Davao’s lead to one, it was too little too late. The final whistle marked the end of Cebu’s aspirations for the third straight final appearance, setting up a match for third place against Stallion.

As Davao Aguilas-University of Makati prepares for the Copa Paulino Alcantara final, they continue to be the underdog story that has captured the hearts of football fans. Their remarkable journey is a testament to the unpredictable nature of sports, where passion and determination can lead to remarkable accomplishments.

image source:Sports Inquirer

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