As the international break came to a close, six teams in the Philippines Football League returned to action this past weekend. Into the second half of the season, the race for the playoff spots is heating up nicely. Here’s how each game took place over the past 48 hours:
Yanagawa goal yields crucial win for JPV-Marikina at Kaya-Makati’s expense
Prior to kickoff, JPV-Marikina knew they needed to make the most of facing a fellow playoff contender in Kaya-Makati if they are to see themselves in the postseason. Making up for lost ground, the Marikeños did just that as they battled hard to pick up a 1-0 triumph at the Rizal Memorial Stadium Sunday evening.
Masaki Yanagawa got the winning goal for JPV as he instinctively tucked the ball in off a corner 34 minutes into the game. It was the best chance JPV had all game as Kaya sought for retribution most of the way.
The biggest obstacle the Makati club faced was breaking down the resolve of an impressive Nelson Gasic Jr. Having shown his quality time and time again since last season in the United Football League, the JPV goalkeeper responded well to the pressure. Kaya’s potent strike force were kept at bay with the likes of Jordan Mintah, Joven Bedic and Eric Giganto simply unable to breach Gasic’s goal. Time eventually ran out, allowing JPV to win their seventh match of the season.
“We really needed to win to reach the top four teams,” Yanagawa told the press after the game. The result provides a massive boost for the Marikina side as they are now just a point off the top four, although Ceres-Negros have five games in hand which could widen the gap a bit further.
As for Kaya-Makati, they have a trip to struggling Ilocos United to look forward to come Sunday. JPV-Marikina, meanwhile, will make the short stroll down to Biñan to face a resurgent Stallion-Laguna this Saturday.
New signings inspire Davao Aguilas in stalemate versus Global-Cebu
New additions Phil Younghusband and Jason de Jong proved to be shrewd additions for Gary Phillips’ Davao Aguilas as the duo provided the goals that allowed the home side come from behind to pick up a 2-2 draw against Global-Cebu at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.
The visitors, just like in their previous encounter in Tagum, struck first. Paolo Salenga guided the ball into the net inside 13 minutes. The former NU Bulldog is in fine form and has shown yet again his finishing prowess for the Cebuanos.
On the back foot, the new look Aguilas took a bit of time to garner response but they were able to do so before halftime. Phil Younghusband converted a penalty awarded in the 43rd minute to hopefully settle the nerves of the Davaoeños.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Global-Cebu restored the lead once more even before the officials signaled halftime. Dennis Villanueva got the decisive touch in a messy set piece situation. It stayed that way come the interval, leaving Davao a bit more frustrated than they were after they had let Global to take the lead again.
Davao would feel grateful there were still 45 minutes to change the complexion of the game, something that they succeeded in doing thanks to a familiar face for Global. Their former player, Jason de Jong, netted a 64th minute equalizer to make things really interesting approaching full time. Both teams went at it with the score level at 2-apiece but neither found a breakthrough goal, perhaps doing justice to themselves as neither deserved to lose.
After not playing for a month and a half, Davao returned to action still without a win and will look to end the hunt for the maiden victory when it’s their turn to visit Global-Cebu this Wednesday. Davao’s task of claiming a win in Cebu should be a really difficult one as the Cebuanos are undefeated in five games at home, a record Global would want to extend beyond this week.
Stallion-Laguna slams five past cellar dwellers Ilocos United
Stallion-Laguna’s rise in the PFL just keeps on going as they hammered Ilocos United, 5-0, at the Biñan Sports Complex. Jhan-jhan Melliza pocketed four of the five goals, with a second-half hattrick killing off the Ilocanos’ slim comeback hopes.
Before halftime, the former FEU Tamaraw managed to get into the scoresheet 14 minutes after kickoff. As expected, Stallion controlled the first half yet their dominance would not be reflected until the second period.
Seven minutes after halftime, the hosts doubled their lead again through Melliza. Not long after, Fitch Arboleda joined his former rival and now teammate in the scoresheet when he fired the ball into the net in the 55th minute. The quick two-goal haul virtually killed of Ilocos United, whose misery on the day was far from complete.
The Ilocanos fell victim to two quick strikes yet again in the dying minutes of the encounter after Melliza rounded off a spectacular afternoon in style for Stallion, notching his third and fourth goals in the 87th and 92nd minutes.
The result marks Stallion’s third straight win in the league and their sixth out of their last eight matches. The same cannot be said about Ilocos United after they absorbed another defeat which is their 14th already this season.
The match between Ceres-Negros and Meralco-Manila was postponed to allow the Negrenses to prepare for the AFC Cup. They will battle Istiklol with a 4-0 aggregate deficit to overhaul if they are to progress to the inter-zonal final.