USUALLY delivering when it mattered for the national team, Chieffy Caligdong rose to the occasion for his club this time.
Green Archers United leaned on the endgame heroics of the Azkals' skipper to escape Ceres-La Salle, 2-1, and book a return trip to the semifinals of the United Football League Cup on Tuesday night at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
Caligdong, one of the finest homegrown Filipino booters today, finished with a brace, including the go-ahead goal in the thrilling, evenly-matched affair.
“I expected the game to be even. I respect Ceres. I told my players na kung sino matibay, yung ang mananalo,” Archers coach Rodolfo Alicante said.
The Archers now await the winner of the Loyola Meralco-Global quarterfinal tiff being played at posting time.
Alicante said he would rather face the Sparks because he feels his team matches up better against them.
The Archers saw Jayson Panhay of Ceres score the opening goal 28 minutes into the game, before Caligdong equalized five minutes later.
As the game threatened to go into extra time, Caligdong caught a long pass from the back, controlled the ball, before scoring the marginal conversion two minutes into stoppage time in a strike reminiscent of his most memorable goals for the national side.
“It was a team goal,” Caligdong said. “Kung hindi sa mga teammates ko, hindi ko rin makukuha yun.”