Kaya-Loyola rivalry gets quick revival at Copa '23

Kaya Iloilo finds itself rekindling an old rivalry in the Copa Paulino Alcantara. PFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The old rivalry between Kaya-Iloilo and Loyola is set for a quick comeback as the two clubs were grouped together following the group draw for the Copa Paulino Alcantara on Saturday at the Philippine Football Federation headquarters in Pasig.

Kaya-Iloilo and Loyola are placed in Group A, which on paper could be considered as the "group of death".

Reigning UAAP champion Far Eastern University and former UFL powerhouse Air Force are also part of Group A with Inter Manila and Don Bosco Garelli completing the six-club field.

The rivalry of Kaya-Iloilo and Loyola dates back to the UFL days with both clubs engaging in tough battles during the late 2000s and the early 2010s.

The rivalry spilled into the PFL when both clubs became two of the league's founding members in 2017.

The rivalry was then called "The NCR Derby" with Loyola representing this city as Meralco Manila and Kaya still representing Makati.

Loyola left the PFL in 2018 but is making a de facto return this year through the Copa.

Group C, on the other hand, will see the return of Davao Aguilas, although they will play as a collegiate team this time due to a tie-up with University of Makati.

Stallion Laguna, Mendiola, Tuloy, Army, and Adamson complete the said group.

Group B, the only pool consisting of five teams, has Dynamic Herb Cebu, Maharlika Manila, Pilipinas Dragons, Manila Digger, and University of the Philippines in it.

The Copa will begin on July 15, but according to PFL commissioner Coco Torre, the PFL clubs would only see action by August.

The matches will be played at either the Rizal Memorial Stadium here, the University of Makati Athletic Oval, or the BiƱan Football Stadium. 

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno