Phil Younghusband of Meralco Manila and Nate Burkey of Davao Aguilas battle for possession in their match in Tagum City last Wednesday
MATCHES on SATURDAY, JUNE 24
4 p.m. – Meralco Manila vs Stallion Laguna (Rizal Memorial Stadium)
7 p.m. – Ceres Negros vs Kaya Makati (Panaad Stadium)
JPV Marikina relied on a couple of early goals as it subdued Ilocos United, 2-1, last Wednesday night to gain ground on leader Meralco Manila which dropped points for the first time in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League.
Japanese striker Takumi Uesato scored his sixth goal of the season to lead an early barrage from the Marikina side at Quirino Stadium in Vigan, where Ilocos suffered a fifth straight defeat.
Getting a rare start, Alen Angeles opened the scoring in the fourth minute for JPV, which now has 15 points, just a point off Meralco, after the Sparks were held to a 2-2 draw by the Davao Aguilas at Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City.
Chima Uzoka pulled a goal back for coach Ian Gillan’s men at the half-hour mark, but Marikina hung tough to secure a fourth straight win.
The Sparks blew a two-goal advantage that they established in the first 11 minutes as Milos Krstic and Dylan De Bruycker cancelled out earlier strikes from Tahj Minniecon and Phil Younghusband to set the stage for a thrilling finish.
Minniecon scored the quickest goal in league history as he pounced on a loose ball in the box and half-volleyed past Davao goalie Marko Trkulja in the second minute, before Younghusband doubled the lead 10 minutes later with a precise strike from just inside the box.
But the Aguilas, egged on by close to 4,000 fans, fought back with Krstic directing a free kick past Manila keeper Ace Villanueva midway in the first half. A quick counter attack in the 73rd minute saw De Bruycker finish past Villanueva after a lovely return ball from Levi Gilmar Fernandez.
“Davao played well in the second half and were able to sustain their momentum until the end,” said Sparks coach Aris Caslib.
Davao coach Gary Phillips expressed delight over his side’s performance. ”We will take this as a win,” said Philipps.
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