Jesus Joaquin Melliza continued to flaunt his scoring prowess as he propelled Stallion Laguna FC to its fourth straight victory with a 1-0 win over JPV Marikina FC in the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Saturday at the Biñan Football Stadium.
Melliza fired the lone goal late in the second half, towing the streaking Stallions to their seventh win in 20 matches for 26 points, just one marker behind No. 5 JPV Marikina and two points away from No. 4 Ceres Negros FC.
The pint-sized striker Melliza, who went on a four-goal explosion in Stallion Laguna’s previous game, notched his 13th goal of the season to lead the league in scoring.
JPV absorbed its eighth loss in 19 games and fell one spot with 27 points as Ceres Negros was able to return to the top four with a 3-1 beatdown of Davao Aguilas FC.
The last preliminary round encounter between Laguna and Marikina featured the league-leading scorers in Melliza and Takumi Uesato but it was the homegrown forward who came out on top.
Breaking free on the right side of the penalty box, Melliza tapped home a sneaky layoff from substitute Yannick Tuason in the 77thminute to give the home squad a huge victory.
Meanwhile, FC Meralco Manila and Global Cebu FC battled to a goalless draw as they shared the spoils in front of 4,850 fans at the Cebu City Sports Center
With the scoreless standoff, the Sparks extended their advantage atop the standings with 41 points while the People’s Club stayed on No. 2 with 34 points.
Meralco Manila almost grabbed the maximum points with efforts from Curt Dizon and Alvin Sarmiento but Global Cebu and Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto came up with big saves to keep the capital club winless on the Cebuanos’ home turf.
“He (Deyto) has saved us a lot throughout the season,” said Global head coach Akbar Nawas post-game.
This was the second time in three meetings that the two powerhouse teams wound up in a stalemate.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA