Cebu FC faces Stallion in 2022 Copa Paulino debut

CEBU FC makes its 2022 Copa Paulino Alcantara debut Monday, April 25, 2022, against Stallion Laguna FC at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

Cebu FC is fielding a new and improved squad that’s mentored by two Turkish coaches — head coach Mehmet Kakil and assistant coach Levent Ozturk.

“We are still a new club. We’re on our second season. It’s important that we win the first game. If we win the first game, we have more chances of winning the cup. I don’t want to say that we will win the cup right away. We want to take it one win at a time,” said Cebu FC midfielder Baris Tasci.

Cebu FC was established in 2021 by Cebu-based Turkish businessman Ugur Tasci. The club finished fourth place in its debut season in the Copa Paulino Alcantara last year after losing to Stallion, 5-4, in a penalty shootout.

Aside from its two Turkish coaches, Cebu FC also acquired the services of Mert Altinoz, Arda Cinkir and Nazim Ozcan from Hatayspor’s Under-21 team as part of both club’s partnership.

From being a defensive-oriented team, the new Cebu FC will now be more focused on offense because of its offensive-minded coach Kakil, a Hatayspor legend and a five-time top scorer in the Turkish League.

“He’s teaching the team to be more offensive-oriented. The team is scoring goals more in practice. Players are also thinking more offensively,” said Tasci. “One thing we can promise is that we’ll bring positive football and exciting football.”

Meanwhile, the Azkals Development Team (ADT) will take on Maharlika Manila FC on the same day.

Kaya FC-Iloilo is at the top of the table with 10 points, followed by United City FC with eight. ADT is third with four points, Maharlika is fourth with three markers, Stallion is fifth with two points, while Mendiola FC 1991 is sixth also with two points but behind on goal difference.