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It’s grizzled vets against rising stars as Kaya and Air Force tangle

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By Kevin Estrada

TAGUIG CITY — The first televised match in the Philippine Premier League will be the battle between the young blood of Kaya-Iloilo against the old guard Philippine Air Force.

It was seven years ago since both clubs played in Rizal for the opening day of the old UFL in 2012, and not much has changed between them since then.

Leo Jaena, the PAF manager, stressed that going strong is the main thing for the Airmen, as they seek the regain glory, which was last seen during the era of retired Maj. Gen. Oscar Rabena who was the main supporter of its football club.

“Just come out strong with a “never-say-die” attitude,” Jaena said.

Setting the tone was important for the Copa Paulino Alcantara holders, as they have just three days to recover before meeting Lao Toyota in a pivotal AFC Cup tie in Bacolod.

“We will need to manage player recovery. It will be an opportunity for other players to express themselves,” said Kaya boss Noel Marcaida who will have a lot of questions with his squad, especially with the suspension of Jalsor Soriano who will not be even playing tomorrow due to club’s decision.

Arnel Amita knows that they have the youth to their advantage, but they could not count PAF out for their veteran smarts.

“Hindi namin minamaliit ang Air Force kase sila ang best team dati. Ang mga player nila dating Azkals. Mga idolo namin, ngayon makakalaban namin. 100% and ibibigay namin.”

These include 45-year old skipper, Technical Sargeant Yanti Barsales, who was most remembered for his UFL Cup winning strike in 2011.

“We give our 150%,” said the elder statesman of Philippine football.