To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Mendiola 1991 will enter the Philippines Football League Copa Paulino Alcantara 2021 with a revitalized squad and a major breakthrough in the club’s history— an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup License granted by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) First Instance Body.
The license qualifies Mendiola FC to compete in the prestigious AFC Cup should it win in the Copa.
“We would like to thank the PFF and the AFC for recognizing our club and granting us an AFC Cup license. Playing in the AFC was the dream of our founders, Coach Aris Caslib and the late Coach Felix Servita when they organized the club in 1991. Now we are much closer to that dream,” said Mendiola FC team manager Erwin Isla.
“The license is also a motivation for our players to win this year’s PFL Cup so we can represent the country in the AFC Cup.”
Mendiola ’91 is one of the oldest existing football clubs in the Philippines.
It was established in the summer of 1991 as a club composed of former footballers from San Beda College whose address—Mendiola Street—provided its name.
From joining summer tournaments in Metro Manila, Mendiola ’91 went on to play in major leagues and bigger competitions such as the 1997 Adidas U19 Championship where it emerged the champion, the United Football League First and Second Divisions, and the 2011 Smart National Football Club Championship where it placed second. In 2019, it joined the PFL.
Among the players who’ve played for Mendiola FC include former Azkals Phil and James Younghusband.
Boosted by the support from kit maker FAT Sports Indonesia and health care company Best Diagnostic Corporation, Mendiola ’91 is fielding a team composed of experienced players, standouts from UAAP and NCAA, and breakout stars in youth football.
Captain Jim Ashley Flores and co-captain Hamed Hajimahdi are rejoined by mainstays Aaron Altiche, Nimrod Balabat, Marvin Bricenio, PJ Fadrigalan, Joshua Polinag, James Pangasian, Jon Carlos, and Jay-R Sandoval. Foreign players Daniel Ashley from Ghana, Hosni Dosso from Ivory Coast, and Kim Minsu of South Korea enhance the lineup.
A new face in the squad is Miggy Clarino.
The 2021 Copa Alcantara also marks the debut of San Beda University football players with Mendiola FC.
These include Miguel Artillera; Reinhard Colasito; Jimson Crestal; Eric Manlapas; Kenneth Payosalan; Lorenzo Sabado; Mark Castillo; Keith Edulan; EC Rasonable; Christopher Villanueva; Ralph Datoy; Vince Baito; NCAA MVP Jesse Semblante of the U-23 Azkals; and 30th SEA Games national players Mariano Suba, Jr., and Michael Asong.
“We’ve upgraded our program not just for the (PFL) Cup and League, but also for the future AFC Cup and hopefully for the AFC Champions League,” said head coach Dan Padernal.