Returning player Rufo Sanchez and Hiraku Minegishi propelled Global Cebu FC past Ilocos United FC, 2-1, to inch closer to the pole position in the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Saturday at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Sanchez, a former Golden Ball awardee in the now-defunct United Football League, and Minegishi netted one goal apiece in the second half as Global Cebu
hiked its total to 28 points on an 8-4-2 win-draw-loss record.
With the maximum markers, the Visayan powerhouse club could take the No. 2 spot or a joint leadership depending on the result of the match between Kaya FC-Makati and FC Meralco Manila, which is being played at press time.
Ilocos United remained winless at the bottom of the eight-team field as it absorbed its second defeat to Global and 11th overall.
In their first meeting, the veteran squad pummeled the newcomer from Vigan, 3-0, almost two months ago at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
Global stepped on the pedal right from the kickoff, getting early scoring chances from Japanese midfielder Shu Sasaki and Trinidadian forward Darryl Roberts.
But it was Ilocos which opened up the scoring as midfielder Charlie Beaton converted off a low cross 11 minutes into the game.
Goalkeeper Baba Sampana kept a clean sheet for the visitors at the end of the first half, denying Sasaki of entering the scoreboard.
Down by a goal heading into the final half, Global head coach Akbar Nawas deployed new signing Sanchez, who quickly made his return to Philippine football following a productive stint in the Thai League felt.
Sanchez equalized the scoreline at 1-1 as the Spanish striker scored with a swift header in the 63rd minute, sending the 2,650 spectators to a wild celebration.
Hikaru Minegishi found the back of the net just four minutes later to put the Cebuanos on top and eventually secure an unblemished slate at home.