WITH the national finals at hand, Erco-Bro Nationals got a much-needed boost in their campaign in the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Smart Club Championships after beefing up their roster with six players from two United Football League clubs.
Erco-Bro National added on loan former Azkals star Chieffy Caligdong, ex-Azkals striker Ian Araneta, Cebuano Paulo Pascual, Azkals Under-23 team member Ronnie Aguisanda, Reynald Villareal and Mark Ferrer.
“Our club Erco-Bro Nationals is affiliated with the Green Archers. They are here anytime we need their support. They are with us on loan and they will be playing for our Men’s team for the Aboitiz Cup. Same goes with Ian Araneta and Mark Ferrer,” Erco’s Rodney Orale told Sun.Star Cebu.
Caligdong, Pascual, Aguisanda and Villareal play for the Green Archers United in the UFL Division 1, while Araneta and Ferrer are from Philippine Airforce of Division 2.
Araneta was originally scheduled to play in the qualifiers. However, he couldn’t make a trip because of prior commitment to his mother club.
Erco earned a slot in the national finals after topping group in the qualifying round in Cebu City last October. Erco beat Real Marbel FC and Mindanao-Tagum, 5-1, to finish with six points from an unbeaten slate.
Competition will be much tougher in the national finals with all the winners of the qualifying rounds separated into two groups plus UFL powerhouse teams Global FC and Ceres FC.
With the reinforcements, Erco will be much more competitive.
“As per players’ comment, we’ll play with heart, win or lose. We are Cebu’s pride,” said Orale. “Although there are players that quit with the games already near, still the composure of our players and as a team is unmoved.”
The national finals will be on Jan 23 to 30 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.