By Gabriel Tan
Loyola take on Burmese side Kanbawza in the first leg of their quarter-final clash on Thursday having recently suffered the heartbreak of losing out to Global in the UFL.
Despite having their title destiny in their own hands, the Sparks could only manage two draws and a defeat in their final three matches and had to settle for third place in the end.
Nonetheless, their prospects of winning the Singapore Cup remain very much alive after they booked their place in the last eight with a gritty 2-1 extra time win over Geylang United in the opening round, and coach Santos insists the clash against Kanbawza provides his side an excellent chance to bounce back.
"We were very disappointed that we failed to win the league in the end," Santos told ESPNSTAR.com.
"We were in a really strong position but we just came up short in the end.
"There was also a month-long break due to the international matches between the cup game against Geylang and our next league game, so we were a little rusty and lacking in match sharpness.
"However, our focus has now been switched to the Singapore Cup and we see no reason why we can't go all the way. We are definitely in it to win it."
Both Loyola and KBZ are the only remaining foreign sides in the competition, after DPMM FC, Harimau Muda B, Phnom Penh Crown and Yotha were all eliminated in the opening round.
And while he admits they have not been able to do much research on their opponents, Santos is backing his players to deliver the goods at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday.
"We haven't really had a chance to assess our opponents," he admitted. "But hopefully we'll get to watch a video of them tonight [Wednesday].
"We are definitely ready for the challenge and will be looking to play our own game, and we are confident we can come up on top."
Following Thursday's opening clash, both sides will face off once again in the return leg on Sunday, which will again be held at the Jalan Besar Stadium.