Stallion Laguna FC finally collected its maiden win for the season with a Jhan-Jhan Melliza brace as they handed JP Voltes’ Marikina another loss in their match-up held at the Biñan Football Stadium last Wednesday.
Following JPV’s loss against Kaya, their third consecutive defeat, the Laguna-based squad took advantage of the adjustments Marikina made and started their attacks early on. Melliza, a former FEU Tamaraw forward, opened the scoring at the 16th minute with a one-on-one against goalkeeper Nelson Gasic from just a few meters outside the box.
Despite JPV’s continued pressure and good possession, they were unable to convert and equalize during the first half against the tight defense of the Ernest Nierras-led team.
Stallion maintained putting pressure on the second half to ensure JPV did not get the opening they were looking for. At the 63rd minute, the Lakeside squad further added to their lead with a second goal from Melliza after he scampered away from the tired JPV defense and went for the follow through from a post shot.
The victory edged Stallion Laguna past Davao Aguilas FC to the sixth spot while JPV slid down to fifth place, still ahead of the Laguna team.
Meanwhile in Makati, Kaya beat Ilocos United, 5-2, and strode their way to first and dethrone Meralco Manila from top of the table.
Ghanian striker Jordan Mintah secured a hat trick for the Makati squad and paved the way for its fourth consecutive win.
Mintah scored his first goal of the match within the first 10 minutes of the game to a stunned IUFC team. However, the visitors from the North stood its ground and pounded on the attack but was unable to convert immediately.
IUFC had their chance to equalize when John Kanayama took the penalty kick for Ilocos after a foul by teammate Graham Caygill. But the tie was short-lived as Mintah scored his second goal for the night on the 34th minute to bring Kaya back to the lead once again. The Ghanaian player did a razor-sharp head to the back of the net from a corner kick that gave them the lead until the half-time whistle.
Despite the lead, Ilocos was intent on getting back in the game come second half, but their dream was shattered as Robert Lopez Mendy fired another goal for the Makati side on the 58th minute while Eric Giganto secured another near the 80th minute.
Caygill managed to slice the lead by half and netted another score for Ilocos from a free kick but Mintah’s third goal in the dying minutes of the match ensured a victory for the hosts of the match.
Kaya coach Noel Marcaida attributed his team’s victory to their training.
“The players have really been playing consistently in training,” he told Tiebreaker Times. “And also, the players have been able to manage themselves to recover despite the heavy schedule that we’ve had this July.”
Even Mintah cited hard work in training for his hat-trick.
“I worked so hard for it,” he revealed. “But the entire team worked so hard for it as well. So I thank the teamwork too.”
Meanwhile, Ilocos coach Ian Gillan kept a positive outlook for his team despite suffering their eighth loss for the season.
“We just move on and play Kaya again,” Gillan said to Manila Times. “Hopefully, we’ll get something better out of that.”