BIÑAN, Laguna — Philippines Football League commissioner Coco Torre could not help but be happy to see the Copa Paulino Alcantara final between Ceres Negros and Kaya Iloilo as a resounding success.
"I'm very happy with the very good turnout," Torre said after the match at the Biñan Football Stadium.
The match was pitted as a test event for the Southeast Asian Games football competitions.
The pitch will be the main home of the women's football matches, while it will also host two men's football matches, including a December 4 showdown between the Philippines' under-22 national team and Timor Leste.
"It's the first time that we've had an event mounted this scale," Torre said.
The U22 Azkals were invited in the Copa Paulino Alcantara as a guest team to gear them up for the SEA Games meet.
However, they were knocked out right on the final night of the group stages when Mendiola crawled back from 0-2 down to force a 2-2 draw, which was enough for the club to enter the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Stallion Laguna, which calls the Biñan Football Stadium as home, had a golden chance to play host to the final after taking a 2-0 lead against Ceres Negros in the semifinals.
Ceres Negros, however, pulled a huge comeback to secure its place in the final.
But although Stallion Laguna and the U22 Azkals were eliminated from title contention, the venue was packed at the grandstand that some people had to find seats in the bleachers right across the main viewing lounge just to see Ceres Negros and Kaya Iloilo battle it out for the title in flesh.
"[Last night] proved that if we just focus on [the entertainment] aspect of this sport, it would benefit us in a way... We are very happy with the support that we have been getting from them," Torre said.
Ceres Negros claimed the Copa Paulino Alcantara title after beating Kaya Iloilo, 2-1, completing a domestic double and ending its domestic season undefeated. (PNA)