PINT-sized OJ Porteria stood tallest on Saturday night as he led Kaya to a 1-0 win over Loyola Meralco that clinched for the defensive-oriented squad a berth in the semifinals of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart Club Championships at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The 5-foot-5 Filipino-American striker who traces his Pinoy roots to Cavite made the biggest difference in an evenly matched game when he scored off a pass from Jonahan Romero 13 minutes into the second half.
"It was a great ball from Jonah," Porteria said. "Honestly, I didn't expect it but I took the chance and saw the defender flat-footed so I faked him and took him to the right."
Freddy Gonzales, the Sparks' newest acquisition and formerly the United Football League's Division 2 top scorer, could have knotted the count late with the best scoring chance for the heavily fancied squad.
But his header was denied by Kaya goalkeeper Saba Garmaroudi, leading to the surprise exit of the most potent offensive team in the tourney with prolific brothers Phil and James Younghusband and Mark and Matthew Hartmann in the fold.
The win arranged for Kaya a Final Four meeting with tournament surprise Ceres, which defeated Global,1-0, earlier in the day.