Philippine football

Kaya FC, Manila Digger vie for PFF Women’s League title

Juro Morilla

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Kaya FC, Manila Digger vie for PFF Women’s League title

TOP TEAMS. Kaya FC versus Manila Digger FC in the PFF Women's League.

PFF Women's League Facebook page

Top seed Kaya FC-Iloilo tangles with No. 3 seed Manila Digger FC in the PFF Women's League final as they both gun for their first domestic league crown

MANILA, Philippines – A new champion will be crowned in the PFF Women’s League as Kaya FC-Iloilo and Manila Digger FC contest for their first domestic title on Saturday, November 11, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. 

Since its inception in 2016, the PFF Women’s League has had only one champion in La Salle as the Lady Booters claimed three straight championships in dominating fashion.

The league was paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and resumed only this year after staging a successful third season of the PFF Women’s Cup in 2022. 

Kaya FC participated in the inaugural PFF Women’s League in 2016, but pulled out midseason and disappeared since, while Manila Digger made history by clinching a finals berth in its first appearance in the domestic league. 

Road to the finals

Building off a third-place finish in the Women’s Cup, Kaya FC returned to the Women’s League with a bang as it ended the elimination round on top with 22 points and a +36 goal difference in nine matches played.

In the Final Four, Kaya FC clinched a 2-1 win over three-time defending champion La Salle, which finished as the fourth seed with 19 points and a +19 goal difference.

Angelica Teves, who registered 17 goals in the elimination round, gave La Salle an early lead with a right-footed strike inside the penalty box at the 19th minute, but Shelah Cadag and Hazel Lustan each scored a goal in the second half to send Kaya FC to the championship match.

Manila Digger, meanwhile, enjoyed a superb elimination round run as it tallied 22 points and a +21 goal difference to claim the third seed and set up a Final Four clash with 2022 PFF Women’s Cup champions FEU Lady Tamaraws.

Both teams were scoreless at full time, so the match went to a decisive penalty shootout wherein Manila Digger emerged victorious, 4-3, after Kyla Doctora of FEU hit the woodwork with her spot kick. 

Previous matchup and key players

Manila Digger and Kaya FC met once this season and figured in a 0-0 stalemate – the only time the two teams settled for a draw in the eliminations.

Keeping Kaya FC goalless for a second time this season will be a massive task for the upset-seeking Manila Diggers as Cadag and Lustan, both former UST standouts, combined for 16 goals in the eliminations. 

Supporting Cadag and Lustan in attack are midfielders Camille Rodriguez, Sara Castañeda, and Irish Navaja, who all scored at least 3 goals heading into the semifinals. 

Manila Digger has Candida Quarshie and Roselle Lecera to lean on to find the back of the net as both players accumulated 8 and 5 goals, respectively.

However, Kaya FC boasts two Philippine women’s football team mainstays in goalkeeper Inna Palacios and center back Hali Long, who are expected to make it difficult for Manila Digger to crack their defense.

Battle for third

Before the championship match at 7 pm, FEU and La Salle will vie for a podium finish at 4 pm in the same venue. 

FEU will be led by Dionesa Tolentin, who scored 14 goals in the elimination round, while Teves and 19th Asian Games squad call-up Alisha del Campo will be the players to watch out for La Salle. –

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