ILOCOS United FC is no longer winless in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) after defeating JPV Marikina FC, 2-1, in their league fixture played at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna.
Thanks to goals from Angelo Marasigan and Kennedy Uzoka, Ilocos finally notched its long-sought first victory in the newly created national football league after settling for four draws and absorbing 15 defeats previously.
In other games on Saturday, Kaya FC-Makati routed Stallion Laguna FC, 4-0, at the University of Makati Stadium while league-leader FC Meralco Manila continued its dominance over Davao Aguilas FC, 2-0, in a game played at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Playing in its 20th league game, Ilocos clawed its way back to book the win.
JPV midfielder Alen Angeles put his team ahead early when he connected in the 10th minute.
But Ilocos was undeterred and showed great resilience and determination to finally end up with a victory the rest of the way.
Midfielder Marasigan found the bottom of the net in the 32nd minute off a free kick to level the count at 1-1 heading into the halftime break.
The two teams went back and forth for much of the second fold until forward Uzoka broke the stalemate in the 82nd minute with a strike which proved to be the marginal goal as Ilocos hung on for the win.
The victory got for Ilocos the full three points that improved them to seven points in 20 outings while leaving Davao as the lone PFL team still to win its first game.
Davao (0-7-10 and seven points), however, is still ahead of Ilocos in the standings on the strength of better goal difference of -19 to Ilocos’ -32.
“We deserved the win today. I’m so happy and my teammates are happy. It really means a lot for us,” said Mr. Uzoka, named man of the match after, of their maiden PFL win.
“This a great experience for us. We really worked hard for this and we hope to build on it,” he added.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR KAYA
Meanwhile, Kaya made it back-to-back wins with its 4-0 rout of Stallion.
Jordan Mintah had a brace while Miguel Tanton and Eric Giganto each had a goal in an explosive second half for the host team that pushed it to solo second place in the standings, as of this writing, with an 11-5-6 record and 38 points.
Mr. Mintah’s goals came at the 61st and 67th minute while those of Messrs. Tanton and Giganto were fashioned out in the 63rd and 86th minute, respectively.
“We’re really happy with the win, we really needed that. I think coming into this game, everyone was on the same page… I give credit to all our players for playing very well,” said winning coach Noel Marcaida.
Meralco, for its part, spoiled the return of former players Phil and James Younghusband with its 2-0 win over Davao.
Playing for the first time against the Sparks since transferring to the Mindanao club in July, the Younghusbands saw their former team claim the victory on the back of second-half goals from Tahj Minniecon (52’) and Jake Morallo (80’).
After their win over Davao, Meralco jacked up its record to 13-5-2 with 44 points. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo