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Davao, Iloilo brace for titanic tiff as Marcaida, Maro trade shades

Noel Marcaida and Marlon Maro trade shades at each other as Davao Aguilas and Kaya Iloilo face off to cap off the opening week of the PFL. 
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--With the busiest off-seasons ever recorded in their young history, the newly retooled Davao Aguilas hopes to convert their spending spree into silverware when they begin their domestic season against Kaya Iloilo on Sunday afternoon.

The lone Mindanao side had splurged a lot to improve their squad after avoiding the wooden spoon last year, with a busy transfer window net them the likes of Dennis Villanueva from Global Cebu and Tyler Matas from the former Meralco Manila.

With all the activity they have made, the expectations are high for Marlon Maro and his troops nearly two months after leading St. Benilde back to the summit of NCAA football.

[Related Story: #EndOfEight: Vicen the hero as Benilde crowned champs after edging Arellano from the spot]

“We expect the expectations, not only from supporters and the fans but from the club owners and the management as well,” he admitted, knowing that this is a make-or-break year for them as Davao looks to end the Visayan stranglehold in the country's premier football league, led by reigning PFL and AFC Cup ASEAN kings Ceres Negros.

As Maro being in his own self, he has his own prediction heading to their tiff with Noel Marcaida's men.

“The win belongs to Davao,” he bragged, despite having Adam Reed and Takashi Odawara missing out on suspensions.

In contrast to Davao's much ballyhooed activity, Kaya had a massive ace up in their sleeves apart from their impressive record against the home side last season, where they won three times against them, including all six points in Tagum, outscoring them by six in the process.

“The team is intact from last year. I think that’s one thing that we have an advantage over Davao,” said Kaya gaffer Noel Marcaida who then threw another shade at the Aguilas who are miles ahead in terms of the financial side of things.

“It’s not easy to have chemistry in a span of two three months,” Marcaida added, as his side only added college standouts to the squad, most notably the Manila duo of Connor Tacagni and Ace Villanueva. 

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada