PFL: Meralco beaten by Kaya as Ceres win big

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Meralco Manila’s lead at the top of the Philippines Football League was reduced to three points on Saturday following a 2-1 loss to Kaya FC-Makati.

It was Kaya who opened the scoring in the top-of-the-table clash at the University of Makati Stadium, when Jordan Mintah found the back of the net in the 22nd minute for his 16th goal of the campaign.

However, the visitors equalised nine minutes before halftime when centre-back Lee Jeong-min ventured forward to good effect, chesting down Tahj Minniecon’s right-wing cross before finishing past Reffix Cuaresma.

Just when it looked like a draw was on the cards, Eric Giganto emerged as the match winner a minute from time, latching onto Mintah’s slide-rule pass and skipping inside a defender before finishing to hand his side the victory in dramatic fashion.

The result means Meralco are now just three points ahead of Kaya, who have played two games more.

Nonetheless, it is Ceres-Negros who the leaders should be more worried about as they moved nine points off the pace with a 5-0 rout of Ilocos United and still have five games in hand.

Bienvenido Maranon got the Busmen on their way at the Panaad Park and Stadium after seven minutes, when he was first to react to a loose ball inside the box and got enough on his shot to beat Baba Sampana.

The hosts then doubled their lead in the 19th minute through Fernando Rodriguez’s close-range effort, before Carli de Murga made it 3-0 ten minutes later.

From then on, maximum points for Ceres was never in doubt but, just for good measure, they went on to claim a convincing victory with two more goals by Stephan Schrock.

His first was a stunner four minutes before halftime as he received possession on the right and unleashed an audacious swerving effort into the far corner, before he beat the offside trap and rounded Sampana in the 71st minute to leave himself with a simple finish.

Finally, a brace from Fitch Arboleda was not enough to guide Stallion Laguna to victory as Davao Aguilas twice hit back with goals by James Younghusband and Phil Younghusband to salvage a 2-2 draw at the Binan Football Stadium.