MANILA, Philippines–Kaya-Iloilo once again advanced to the final of the Copa Paulino Alcantara after repeating over Stallion-Laguna, 2-1, on Friday for a 4-2 aggregate win after their two-legged semis at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Ricki Sendra’s opener in the first half allowed Kaya to take a much-needed breather and eventually secure a place in the title game for the fifth time in as many editions of the domestic cup tournament.
The Philippines Football League champions will face the Davao Aguilas-University of Makati in the final. The Aguilas advanced with a 2-1 aggregate win over Dynamic Herb Cebu following a 1-1 tie in the second leg of their semis clash.
Kaya will try to claim a record-extending third Copa, having won in the inaugural edition in 2018 and in 2021. The two other appearances in the Final which came in 2019 and 2022 ended in defeats.
Stallion lost another semis for the fifth straight edition and will play Cebu for third place.
The Horsemen placed third in 2021 and 2022, the only times that the Copa held a consolation round game.
Sendra scored 18 minutes into the return match, scoring a low volley off a cross that barely went past the goal line after a Stallion defender’s clearance came too late.
His goal became handy for Kaya later on as Zachary Ford, who was inserted as an early substitute for first leg goalscorer Yuta Nomura, pulled one back for Stallion in the 28th to restore the one-goal disadvantage into the break.
But Stallion defender Abe Placito gifted Kaya an early second-half goal when his attempted clearance of Daizo Horikoshi’s cross went into their own net that put Laguna in a deeper hole.