United Football League side Kaya FC kicked off the Round of 16 campaign of the PFF-SMART Club Nationals with a 5-0 blowout over Mindanao Regionals runners-up M'lang FC at the South Cotabato Sports Complex in Koronodal on Wednesday afternoon.
Nate Burkey opened the scoring in the 2nd minute, receiving a cross from Eric Dagroh and booting it past the M'lang goalkeeper. He would double the advantage almost 30 minutes later, converting a penalty after Dagroh was fouled inside the box.
The last goal in the first half came from newly-signed midfielder Chris Greatwich, who made it 3-0 in the 34th minute, thanks to another cross, this time from Eddie Mallari.
The second half saw the league runners-up cruise their way to victory, with a fourth goal from Swede Dario Dakic in the 84th minute and an own goal a minute later from M'lang's Daryll Bantayan.
Maor Rozen's side advances to the January 19 quarterfinals, where they will either face Loyola Meralco or Flame United. The clash of the UFL stalwarts and the Luzon Regional winners will take place on January 12, 4PM at Rizal Memorial.
The other matches scheduled on Saturday are Luzon regional runners-up Baguio United FC against General Trias International FC at Benguet State University, Mindanao Regional champions Romgarjal FC hosting a souped-up Green Archers United side bannered by new additions Chieffy Caligdong and Jovanie Simpron at the Rizal Memorial State University Field in Dapitan City, and old UFL Division II rivalry between Pachanga Diliman and Cebu Queen City United FC at Cebu's Aboitiz Field. All kickoffs are pegged at 3PM.
The remaining matches will take place on Sunday with a doubleheader at Rizal Memorial Stadium, featuring PSG FC (formerly known as Pasargad FC) against Army at 4PM, then Global FC kicking off their title defense against Nomads FC at 6:30PM. The lone provincial match that day features UFL Cup champions Penson Stallion Gilligan's FC against Visayan Regional champions Ceres FC at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.