22 October 2019
By Kevin Estrada
A perfect build up for the Southeast Asian Games awaits the Philippines under-22 side as they were grouped with three-time PFL champions Ceres Negros after the draw of the second edition of the Copa Paulino Alcantara was made Sunday at the House of Football.
The absence of league doormats Global Cebu reduced the field to seven teams, in which holders Kaya Iloilo lead the three-team Group B, with Stallion Laguna and Philippine Air Force rounding up the trio with the tournament kicks off on October 26.
Being the guest side in the competition Goran Milojevic’s Young Azkals were drawn to the Busmen in Group A, as Risto Vidakovic takes a second crack at the Double after tumbling out to the bottom of their group in the inaugural edition last year, in which Stallion and the already extinct Davao Aguilas went through to the last four.
Newcomers Green Archers United and Mendiola round up the the group, in which the winner takes the spot for the AFC Cup next season. Should the Busmen or the Young Azkals win it in the final on November 16, the spot will be taken by Kaya or the runner up of the Copa respectively.
With the squad boosted by the overseas based players who are being part of the senior side in the World Cup qualifiers, the Young Azkals hopes to gel in time for the biennial meet, in which they have to get past powerhouses like Myanmar and reigning silver medalists Malaysia in Group A.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @kevinlestrada