With 30 minutes remaining, Kaya Makati looked to be on the verge of at least a point against the Davao Aguilas. Forced to play with only 14 available players at the University of Makati, a draw would’ve been seen as an impressive feat. The visitors, however, had different plans. Two goals in a crucial 10-minute period in the second half, ensured they snatched their first win against Kaya in the Philippines Football League, denying the home side a winning end to the regular season campaign.
“I’m happy and satisfied because we lost to Kaya on our home turf, and now we’ve beaten them as well on their home turf, and it’s because the players really wanted to win tonight,” said Davao head coach Marlon Maro. “For me, the delivery of crosses was the main reason why we scored lots of goals. We were able to take advantage of our height. What’s positive tonight is that the players responded well to the plan.”
The match started with an impressive spell of control from Makati, with the midfield trio of Marwin and Marvin Angeles, and Antonio Ugarte dictating proceedings. Midway through the half, the absence of six key players was hardly felt. PFL debutant Chy Villaseñor looked right at home, and Jayson Panhay, who was starting his first match, had already tested the opposition keeper. But just as the home side’s confidence was reaching its peak, Davao turned the tide with a goal against the run of play.
From an uncleared corner, the Aguilas got a second ball into the box, allowing a loosely marked Angel Guirado to head in his first goal of the match. Kaya responded by reestablishing control, but despite mustering three good chances — the best of which was a curling Panhay effort that was well saved by Nick O’Donnel — the half finished with the visitors in front.
Makati levelled 13 minutes into the second period, though, providing hope of a turnaround. Center back Alfred Osei, who ventured into the opposition box for a free kick, volleyed from right in front of goal for his third goal of the season. But parity lasted all but five minutes. Janrick Soriano misjudged the flight of a diagonal ball, allowing Davao to break on the left flank. With the defense scrambling, Harrison Sawyer tapped in a well placed low cross into an empty net. They would double the lead nine minutes later, with Guirado heading in from a similar counter attack on the left side.
“For me it’s the team that’s most important. When the team works good, the team wins. I’m very happy because I scored, but most important is that the team has three points more and looking forward to also preparing for next season. This is good for the confidence of the team,” said Davao’s Angel Guirdado, who was named Man of the Match.
The result denied Kaya Makati a winning end to their regular season campaign, which means the team could yet face the top seed in the upcoming Final Four playoffs.
“It’s a tough loss. If you’re looking at the 90 minutes, I couldn’t see that the Aguilas were really on top. When you go back to the first half, we were really playing well. We were combining, but we just couldn’t find that continuity of attack in the final third. In the second half, we played well in the first 15 minutes and were able to score a goal. But after that, there were moments where we allowed the Aguilas to play their game, which led to the two goals,” said a rueful Noel Marcaida.
“But for me, I give credit to the players who got their chance today, especially Chy (Villaseñor), who really played well,” he said.
“We just need to move on. Anyway, the first objective at the start of the season was to be part of the final four, and we’ve been successful in getting that objective. The regular season is over and the Finals Series is a different story. We have two weeks to prepare for that. We go back to the pitch, work hard, and prepare for the first leg,” the Kaya Makati head coach concluded.