Kaya Makati make their return to the University of Makati on Saturday, taking on a red hot Stallion Laguna side hunting for their fifth straight victory in the Philippines Football League. Kickoff is scheduled at 4pm, with tickets to Field Side (P20) and Grand Stand (P350) seats available SM Tickets (https://www.smtickets.com/events/view/5719), and at the venue.
Fresh from snapping a 6-game winless skid in Ilocos, Kaya are eager to get back into the habit of winning, especially with only seven games left for Makati to ensure their presence in the Finals Series. Every outing now bears massive consequences to the club’s hopes of finishing in the top four.
“The only option we really have is to get those three points, so we can get a stranglehold of a top four spot,” said Kaya Makati head coach Noel Marcaida. “Our goal tomorrow is to stop their winning streak, and for us to begin our winning momentum.”
One key hurdle for the home side will be Jesus Melizza. Known as Jhan-Jhan, the former FEU standout is the PFL’s current leading scorer with 14 goals. He’s been on a tear in the last few weeks, with his blinding pace and clinical finishing shooting him into the very top of a prestigious list of the league’s finest finishers. Kaya’s Jordan Mintah and Robert Lopez Mendy are not far behind with 12, and nine, respectively.
“I think Stallion has been working on their fitness, especially Jhan Jhan Melliza. At the start of the league, you can see Melliza was not that fit. Now he’s in good shape, thats why he’s able to get lots of goals for Stallion. I think tomorrow, the main goal is stop the source to Melliza, and we make sure we control him. If we do that all throughout the game, for sure we’ll get a good result,” stated Marcaida.
Laguna head coach Armando Heria isn’t so sure stopping Stallion will be so easy.
“Maybe they can stop Jhan Jhan. But other players can penetrate on the left or right side,” he said. “Kaya FC is one of the very strong teams in the PFL, and we are prepared to face them tomorrow. We are preparing on pressurizing them in the midfield, not to allow them to distribute upfront,” he added.
It’s been more than a month since Kaya last played at the University of Makati. And the club’s return has been buoyed by the return of a key player from injury.
“It’s been a long while since we last played in our home. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting game. Last time we played Stallion at home, we won 1-0, but they also created lots of chances. We just have to make sure that everyone is ready, everyone is sharp, and that everyone is on the same page,” said Marcaida, before revealing, “Everyone is available. We have players who haven’t played for more than a month now. Miguel Tanton’s presence in tomorrow’s game will be a big help for us.”
Jovin Bedic, who was a part of Stallion’s glory years in the United Football League, is eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s showdown against his former club, confident that Kaya have the necessary hunger to send the visitors home empty handed.
“Bukas, very exciting yung game kasi, Stallion kakagaling lang sa four-game winning streak,” he said. “Pero kailangan nating depensahan, nasa home din tayo. Yung supporters, yung Ultras Kaya, nandun. Dapat depensahan yung home mo, so lalaban kami bukas.”
(“Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting game because, Stallion have just come from a four-game winning streak,” he said. “But we need to protect, we are at home afterall. The supporters, the Ultras Kaya, they’re there. Your home needs to be defended, so tomorrow we’re coming out fighting.”)
“We’re hungrier to win in tomorrow’s game. We’ve been working hard after that winless streak. Tomorrow, we’re going to go out there strong, prepared for a physical game against Stallion. That’s it.”
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