Karl Decena, InterAksyon.com
The Loyola Meralco Sparks and Pachanga Diliman FC square off for the 2013 United Football Cup on Thursday at the Emperador Stadium.
Loyola and Pachanga will do battle at 8 p.m. after the match for third place between Green Archers United Globe and Philippine Air Force at 5 p.m. Both games will be aired live on AksyonTV.
The Sparks are looking to hoist a UFL trophy since building up to be one of the league’s powerhouse clubs in 2011, when Philippine football stars Phil and James Younghusband signed with the team.
Loyola, the overwhelming favorite to win the title, is also aiming to erase the memory of its 2-nil Cup final loss to Philippine Air Force in 2011.
With neither losses nor surrendered goals under their name, the Sparks are seeking to cap the season with a perfect record. They routed their opponents by double-digit margins during the group stages before blanking Global FC and Green Archers United on their way to the championship match.
Standing on Loyola’s way is Pachanga, which is making a surprise entry to the Cup finals after earning promotion to Division One just last season.
Missing former national team striker Nate Burkey due to suspension, Pachanga is hoping to get enough production from veterans Anto Gonzales and Reza Amirkhizan to counter the talented Loyola.
Pachanga, which ranked ninth among the 16 teams that qualified for the knockout stages, dethroned Stallion FC and ended Air Force’s Cinderella run to book a spot in the title match.