NEW Philippines Football League (PFL) team Maharlika Manila FC is out to sustain its spirited run in the ongoing league tournament, banking on a collective go-getting mindset.
Currently at third place with three points and a 1-0-1 record, Maharlika returns to the pitch against league-leading United City Football Club (2-0-0) on Tuesday where it is angling to notch a win that would thrust it among the top teams in the two-week-long tournament.
In two games to date, Maharlika, composed of veterans and new faces, has been proving itself to be a handful.
It is coming from a come-from-behind 2-1 upset of Stallion Laguna FC on Saturday. Prior to it, the team gave tournament favorite Kaya FC-Iloilo a tough time, allowing just a point in going down, 0-1, in the league season opener last Wednesday.
Against the Stallions, Maharlika dug deep after going down, 0-1, in the 28th minute when Senegalese midfielder Ibrahim N’Dour scored for Laguna.
Maharlika tried to get back the point for the remainder of the opening half, but to no avail.
In the second half, its charge back got traction, leading to defender Jose Montelibano levelling the count at 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
The team kept the pressure on the Stallions and was rewarded for it when striker Jeremy Theuer found the bottom of the net in the 74th minute to give Maharlika the lead.
From there, Maharlika held tight on its way to booking its groundbreaking win in the PFL.
After the game, Maharlika coach Roxy Dorlas underscored the resiliency and competitiveness that his wards have been showing.
“I have no words to express how happy I am with the team’s performance, as a squad with work to produce positive results and gain the respect of the other clubs. And I think we have been able to do that,” said Mr. Dorlas.
The Maharlika-United City match at 8 p.m. caps a three-match fixture for the PFL on Tuesday that will also see the Azkals Development Team take on Mendiola FC 1991 at 9 a.m. and Kaya face off with Stallion at 4:30 p.m.
The PFL kicked off its coronavirus pandemic-delayed 2020 season on Oct. 28.
It is being held in a “bubble” setup for two weeks and with no fans watching.
The team on top in the end will be crowned as champion.
The Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite, is the official game venue while Seda Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna, houses the teams and the league for the duration of the tournament.
Participants are shuttled to and from the hotel and the game venue.
During the tournament, all clubs are asked to strictly adhere to health and safety protocols prescribed for the league.
PFL matches can be viewed over the PFL Facebook page. PFL YouTube Channel, 1Play Sports, EXPTV Channel and www.PFLTV.ph. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo