Stallion Laguna FC striker Jhan Melliza was glad to emerge as the leading scorer among local players in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League (PFL).
Melliza posted a total of 13 goals in the 28-game elimination round, including a rare double brace in Stallion Laguna’s 5-0 shellacking of Ilocos United FC last September 10.
“I’m happy to get this achievement. I didn’t expect that I would be the top local scorer because I only think of doing my best every game and helping my teammates,” Melliza told The Manila Times in Filipino.
The pint-sized striker topped fellow Filipino booters Iain Ramsay of Ceres Negros FC (10 goals), Phil Younghusband of Davao Aguilas FC (10), James Younghusband also of Davao (nine), Stephan Shrock of Ceres (eight) and Curt Dizon of FC Meralco Manila (seven).
Melliza finished behind Spaniard Bienvenido Marañon (22 goals) and Fernando Rodriguez (21) of Ceres, Ghanaian Jordan Mintah of Kaya FC-Makati (18) and Japanese Takumi Uesato of JPV Marikina FC (16).
The former Far Eastern University stalwart believes that homegrown talents have skills at par with foreign footballers.
“I believe we can match them (foreign players). We just need to step up and have the dedication, determination, desire and hard work,” said Melliza.
“I saw many local players who are better than me. I think we just have to give attention on our grassroots programs for us to develop a good future for Philippine football,” he added.
Melliza is hoping that his feat would lead to another stint with the Philippine Azkals.
“Since I was young it is really my dream to play for the national team and represent the country. It’s also what my father really wants for me to achieve.”
The 25-year old forward first received his men’s national football team call-up last October when the Philippines battled Yemen for the second time in the third round of the Asian Football Confederation Cup 2019 qualifying stage.
Melliza is looking forward to another successful season for himself and for the Stallions.
“I hope to score more goals and see Stallion Laguna playing in the PFL finals next season.”