While things are still pretty tight at the top, the promising relegation situation that emerged last week was quickly sorted out. All of the teams were in action over the weekend, and the results have created a clear separation of two halves in Division One.
Global took control of the title race after cruising past Pasargad on Saturday for their eighth straight victory. Despite the absence of Carli De Murga, the Guirado brothers and the Angeles twins, the league leaders never looked in danger against the side that shocked the Loyola Meralco Sparks in a grueling affair just three days prior.
While Pasargad stumbled, Loyola recovered from its midweek loss in style, dominating Philippine Army Fritz & Macziol 4-0. The win ensured the Sparks remain just two points behind Global.
Army was still in it at half-time, only a Phil Younghusband goal behind after the opening 45 minutes. A third into the restart however, Davide Cortina doubled the advantage and suddenly a way back seemed unlikely for the Armed Forces side. And to emphasize that there was no hope, Younghusband, the league’s leading scorer added two more goals, bringing his tally to 16 for the season.
Kaya took on Green Archers United shortly afterwards, and goals from unlikely sources did the business for the title contenders. It was set to be a tricky day for Kaya, who was six points adrift at the time of kickoff, and facing the league’s second leading scorer Tating Pasilan.
The back line would cope throughout, but if it wasn’t for goals from Nicolas Bolzico and recent addition Junior Munoz, Kaya wouldn’t have walked away with all three points. The victory ensured Kaya that Global, which has played a game more, is just three points clear.
While United’s demise ended the action on Sunday, the day started off with a massive win for Nomads Auction Manila. With the relegation situation tightening up last week, bottom club Philippine Navy Red Juice had the opportunity to get itself a real chance of staying in the big leagues with a rare win against a fellow struggler. A fifth minute goal from Toullec Loic didn’t do it any favors though, and the Navymen never recovered in the match. The defeat means Navy remains in rock bottom with four points, and looking more likely than ever to be the team plying its trade in the lower division next season.
One last game happened over the weekend, and it was played on Saturday between Stallion Giligan’s and Philippine Air Force Phoenix. It’s been established that the Airmen no longer have a shot at defending their title, but the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Stallion put them in the “bottom half” of the table. While this doesn’t seem to be the case as they remain in fifth place, and technically within the upper portion of the standings, Air Force is now actually nine points away from fourth place Stallion, but level with sixth place Nomads.
To put the team’s struggles into further perspective, it’s just four points ahead of ninth place Green Archers at the moment. It seems surreal that the Airmen have struggled so much this season, having been the recent Cup champions, and a dominant force of the last few years.
With another round in the books, attentions now turn to the next seven days at hand. And what a week it will be for Stallion, who clash with Kaya in midweek, and Loyola at the weekend. These two games will determine what will be the fate of the bright starter’s season. Will it remain in the title hunt, or join the others who wilted under the pressure?
Josue Jamlang covers football for InterAKTV and announces matches for AKTV on IBC. He served as an assistant technical director for the UFL during its maiden season. Follow him on Twitter for more football discussion.