Mendiola FC 1991 held Kaya-Iloilo to a scoreless draw Friday morning, a result that likely ended the latter’s slim title hopes in the Philippines Football League at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Goalkeeper Kenry Balobo had another strong showing between the sticks as Mendiola registered its first point in the shortened season backed by Qatar Airways while forcing Kaya to register a second straight draw.
The draw opened the door for United City FC to clinch the title with a victory over Stallion-Laguna in their match being played at presstime.
United City has nine points going into its match with Stallion while Kaya improved to just eight points with its latest draw
UCFC and Kaya meet on Monday to wrap up their campaigns inside the PFL bubble.
Kaya opened the season with similar 1-0 victories over Maharlika-Manila and Azkals Development Team before being held to a shock 1-1 draw by Stallion last Tuesday that put the title race in United City’s control.
“While my boys wanted to win I believe they did not give their full 100 percent,” said Kaya’s Japanese coach Yu Hoshide. “Maybe my boys were a bit tired with only two days of rest between games. I don’t know.”
The draw felt like a win for Mendiola after a 6-0 defeat to United City and a 2-0 loss to ADT thanks to Balobo, a 22-year-old Cebuano who was left off the national U-22 roster in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
Mendiola, coached by Dan Padernal, has two games left on the season against Maharlika on Monday and Stallion on Thursday.
“I give credit to my boys because they gave their best today against a very good team like Kaya so I am very happy with the result of this match,” said Padernal.
“I really pressured my boys to do better because it would have been embarrassing if we lost our third straight match so we finally gave our opponents a good fight.”