WHAT Stallion failed to do, Kaya accomplished for them. Still, it was the Stallions who reaped all the benefits.
The Stallions captured the United Football League crown on a rainy Thursday night following the 3-2 loss suffered by erstwhile defending champion Global to Kaya.
The Stallions had never beaten Global this season, but in turn, Global lost both its matches to Kaya during the same stretch.
“We always knew Global was the favorite team. And if we wanted to win the title, we had to go through them. I was just thankful Kaya helped us along the way,” Stallions coach Ernie Nierras said in a phone conversation with Spin.ph on Friday.
There was never a doubt in Nierras the Stallions would win the title this year in only their second season in top flight.
Except for those two losses to Global, the Stallions had a smooth ride throughout the tournament after compiling 15 wins and a draw for a total of 46 points.
“We were confident, but not overconfident. We did more than enough to win,” said Nierras, whose team is composed of a mix of Spanish, Korean, Brazilian, and Filipino standouts. “That’s the most important thing.”
And expect an intact roster next season for the Stallions as Nierras dispelled rumors Spanish standouts Joaco Cañas and Rufo Sanchez have already played their last game for the squad.
“They’ll be back in Spain, but just for vacation,” he said. “They’re still in contract with us until next year.”
Sanchez, a striker, is the league’s top scorer with 18 goals to show, and is likely to receive the Golden Boot award at the end of the season, while Cañas, a center-back, anchors the team’s defense.
The Spaniards are not the only ones who shone for the Stallions this season.
Lee Joo Young, Balot Doctora, Bevic Italia, Bo Bae Park, Matthias Bonhevi, and Hector Zaghi also delivered in their own right. Even college standout Nathan Alquiros thrived as a left wing in the unconventional 3-6-1 formation, which certainly made believers from other clubs.
“We wanted to earn the respect of the other teams and I think we did.” Nierras said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to continue this in the next few years.”