Meralco Manila took a step closer towards a top-spot finish in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League after beating JPV Marikina 1-0 on Tuesday.
Following a goalless first half at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Meralco claimed maximum points in fortuitous circumstances courtesy of an Ali Mahmoud own-goal in the 55th minute.
The hosts deserve credit for some neat build-up play in the attacking third before Tahj Minniecon whipped in a cross with pace from the right, but there was little danger until Mahmoud stuck out a leg and diverted the ball into the back of his own net.
Meralco now have an eight-point lead over Kaya FC-Makati, although it is third-place Ceres-Negros who are the only side that can still pip them to top spot.
Ceres currently trail the leaders by nine points but have four games in hand, and their upcoming meeting this Sunday is already shaping up as a pivotal six-pointer.