Sparks blank Younghusbands, Aguilas in PFL

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Tahj Minniecon of FC Meralco Manila (right) keeps his defense on Phil Younghusband of Davao Aguilas FC during their PFL game on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. PHOTO FROM MERALCO MANILA

FC Meralco Manila blanked Davao Aguilas FC, 2-0,in its first encounter with former stars Phil and James Younghusband in the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

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Tahj Minniecon and Jake Morallo netted the goals in the second half as the Sparks extended their lead stop table with their 13th win in 20 games for 44 points.

Meralco Manila head coach Aris Caslib said that their relentless defense on the Young­- husband brothers played a key role in their win.

“Our plan was that when Phil and James get the ball, we would double-team them. That’s why there were so many orange shirts around them whenever they received the ball,” said Caslib, whose squad completed a four-match sweep of the Aguilas.

Davao Aguilas mentor Marlon Maro, who suffered his first loss in the top flight league, blamed fatigue for their downfall.

“Two games in so short a time is hard for us,” said Maro with the lone Mindanao-based club remaining winless in 17 matches and getting stuck on No. 7 with only seven points to show.

Following a scoreless first half, the Sparks stepped on the pedal as veteran Anto Gonzales set up Minniecon for his fifth goal of the campaign in the 52nd minute.

Morallo brought Meralco further ahead with a header off a Tyler Matas delivery seven minutes before time and the league-leaders kept the Younghusbands and the rest of the Aguilas at bay until the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Kaya FC-Makati came through with a fiery second half performance at the University of Makati Football Stadium as it demolished Stallion Laguna FC, 4-0, to solidify its grip of the second spot.

Jordan Mintah struck a brace while Miguel Tanton and Eric Giganto netted one goal apiece all within the final 45 minutes as Kaya Makati snagged its 11th win in 22 games and improved its tally to 38 points, four markers off No. 3 Global Cebu FC.

Noel Marcaida’s men also snapped Stallion Laguna’s four-game winning streak while keeping a clean sheet at home against the squad of Ernest Nierras.

The Stallions suffered their ninth loss in 21 matches though they remained on No. 6 with seven wins and five draws for 26 points.

Over at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna, Kennedy Uzoka powered Ilocos United FC to its breakthrough win at the expense of JPV Marikina FC, 2-1.

Uzoka feigned the opposing goalkeeper then drained the match-winner in the 82nd while Angelo Marasigan provided the first goal with a stunning free kick as the rookies from Vigan finally barged into the win column after 20 games.

Ilocos United hiked its total to seven points though it stayed at the cellar with an inferior goal difference compared to Davao.

JPV Marikina remained on No. 5 with 27 points after absorbing its ninth loss against eight wins and three draws.

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