by Jonas Terrado
Meralco-Manila dealt long-time rival Kaya-Makati its first home loss while staying unbeaten after five matches with a 2-0 victory Saturday in the resumption of the Philippines Football League at the University of Makati Field.
Spaniard Joaco Canas scored the opener before halftime while star striker Phil Younghusband struck a penalty in the second half to help the Sparks continue their impressive start in the league’s inaugural season with their fifth win in a row.
The Sparks kept their hold of the lead in the eight-team league competition with 15 points, three clear of JPV Marikina.
JPV climbed to second place after a shock 2-1 win over powerhouse Ceres-Negros at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Takumi Uesato and former Ceres midfielder J Baguioro scored for JPV in the second half to notch its third straight win.
Canas broke the ice when he headed home a long throw by the debuting Tyler Matas into the far side of the net in the 42nd minute.
Kaya was reduced to 10 men in the 64th when Jordan Mintah was given a straight red for hitting Meralco’s Milan Nikotic inside the box. Younghusband
capitalized on that booking by firing a spot kick to virtually seal the win.
Over in Rizal Memorial, Uesato delivered the first goal for JPV when he scored past Ceres keeper Roland Muller before the hour mark. Baguioro later torched his former team by making it 2-0 with 10 minutes from stoppage time.
Bienvenido Maranon pulled one back for Ceres in the 83rd minute, but failed to score an equalizer until the final whistle.