Loyola Meralco Sparks FC crushed an undermanned Laos FC, 11-1, to take the No.2 spot in the United Football League at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Wednesday.
The Sparks bucked a sluggish start to score eight goals in the second to improve their record to 10 wins and three losses for 30 points.
Loyola quickly showed their mastery of the pitch in the second minute of the contest as Spanish striker Alvaro Castiella found the back of the net to give their side a 1-0 advantage.
Two more goals were added to Meralco before the break courtesy of James Younghusband and Anthon Del Rosario.
However, Laos, who played the match with just 10 men, retaliated with a swift counter-attack three minutes before halftime as Patrick Franksson scored a goal to cut the deficit to 3-1.
As play continued, Loyola sustained its offensive resulting in two consecutive goals by Castiella and Younghusband in the 56th and 67th minutes, respectively.
Jorrel Aristorenas, who substituted for Kou Ichi Belgira in the 51st, caught fire midway through the half as he added three goals to his team in a span of five minutes beefing up their lead to 8-1.
The Sparks put more pressure on the defense of their foes and was rewarded with three more goals toward the end of regulation.
John Kanayama notch a marker in the 82nd minute while Jason De Jong pulled off a brace in the final minutes of the game.
“We’ve been working on a few things going into the game and I’m glad that those few things started creeping into the game. I was very pleased with that,” Loyola head coach Simon Mcmenemy said.
Mcmenemy added that despite moving up the standings, he believes that their club’s final place in the rankings will depend on their performance in their upcoming games against much tougher opponents.
“It doesn’t matter until everyone has played each other. The big games are going to be when we go up against Ceres because if we can beat them, we can secure second place,” he said.
In the other match, defending champions Ceres La Salle FC squandered a first half advantage and settled for a 2-2 draw against Stallion FC.
The Busmen were ahead of the Stallions, 2-0, at halftime through the goals of Azkals standout Patrick Reichelt and Adrian Gallardo Valdez.
But Stallion FC’s relentless offensive paid off in the final stretch when it exposed gaps in their rivals’ back-line.
The duo of Fitch Arboleda and Terrence Linatoc each converted goals in the 71st and 86th minutes to complete their team’s late-game comeback.
After the match, Ceres dropped to the No. 3 spot with nine wins, two draws and two defeats while the Stallion is No. 6 with six wins, four draws and three losses.