Davao's De Jong: "We have to win the cup"

Jason De Jong believes Davao's time is now. Davao Aguilas FC (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In just two seasons of existence, Davao Aguilas quickly turned into championship contenders.

Davao gave Ceres Negros a run for its money in the Philippines Football League title race before settling for third place.

Now, the Mel Anzures and Leigh Manson-steered club is on another silverware conquest again, making the final of the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara with Kaya Iloilo the lone road bock standing in its way.

For Jason De Jong, this is a make or break moment for him and the rest of the Aguilas.

"We have to win the cup. End of the story," the midfielder told Dugout Philippines.

On paper, Davao seems like the favorite to win the Saturday night showdown at the Rizal Memorial Stadium where a spot in the AFC Cup is also on the line considering the offensive firepower it has with skipper Phil Younghusband, older brother James, and Korean reinforcement Kim Sung-Min.

But Iloilo already has knowledge of what it's like to be in the said continental tournament as the club joined in 2016 by winning the 2015 edition of the Copa's predecessor, the UFL Cup.

Masa Omura and Miguel Tanton are among the key holdovers from the 2016 team that will provide the leadership even as Robert Mendy looks to continue on his sensational run as the club's top offensive option.

For De Jong, the experience advantage of Iloilo should serve as a motivation for Davao to strive to win in the win-or-go-home clash.

"We're done with our stuff. We need to show who's the better team, and I'm pretty sure that the winner will be Aguilas," he further said.

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