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Benguet pride’s great April could end with Australia’s Premiere Football League crown

GREAT APRIL. A sweep of the first round of Olympic qualifier, a citation from her mother’s home province and now a semifinal win in the Australia Women’s Premiere Football League leading to the grand championship show that April is great for Jaclyn Sawicki. Sawicki and the Filipinas open their Southeast Games bid on May 3 against Myanmar in Cambodia. Vikes Photo

A sweep of the first round of Olympic qualifier Asia, a citation from her mother’s home province and now a semifinal win in the Australia Women’s Premiere Football League leading to the grand championship show that April is great for Jaclyn Sawicki.

Sawicki, the Fil-Canadian midfielder for the Philippine Women’s Football team or the Filipinas, is having the best football yet after the team completed the sweep of the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Asia last April 11 by outclassing Hong Kong 4-0. Earlier, the Filipinas waylaid host Tajikstan 8-0, right after blasting Pakistan 4-0.

Last Friday, aunt Juliet Francisco received in her behalf the trophy as one of the 59 athletes recognized in Benguet’s Cordillera Athletes Recognition for Excellence at the Newtown Plaza.

“She couldn’t make it,” said Francisco, first cousin of Sawicki’s mother Mina Demis, who was born and raised in Natubleng, Buguias before working as a domestic help in Hong Kong and eventually moving to Canada where she married a Polish immigrant.

Francisco said that from Tajikstan, her niece is flying to the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina to be with her team Western United for the Sunday semifinals match against Premiere champion Sydney Football Club at the Allianz Stadium in the Australian capital.

WU won 1-0 thanks to a 26 minute goal of Golden Boot winner Hannah Keane and saves by goalkeeper Hilary Beall where Sydney was the more aggressive squad which had 26 shots for a goal on 55 percent possession.

WU advances to the finals against Melboune Victories, who upset third rated Melbourne City, 4-3, in the penalty shootout after ending tied at 3-all.

The four teams finished atop the 11-squad A-League with Sydney on top with 40 points on 13 wins, a single draw and four defeats, WU was 13-0-5 for 39, followed by Melbourne City with 30 (9-3-6) and Victories with 29 (7-8-3).

The expansion team WU faces the defending champion Victories in an all Melbourne finale on April 30 at CommBank Stadium in Parramata in New South Wales, 24 kilometers from Sydney.

Sawicki, who was born in Coquitlam in British Colombia in Canada to a Polish father Waclaw, and the Filipinas will see action in the Southeast Games on May 3 against Myanmar in Cambodia where the team hope to improve on their bronze medal finish in the last edition of the biennial meet. Pigeon Lobien

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