GOALKEEPER Kenry Balobo produced another outstanding performance as last-placed Mendiola FC held title contenders Kaya-Iloilo FC to a goalless draw yesterday in the Philippines Football League at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Never given a chance before the start of the match, Mendiola gave Kaya-Iloilo a glancing blow on its championship aspirations with a superb defensive effort to finally earn a point in the bubble.
That massive result opened the window for United City FC, which has nine points on top of the table, to clinch the league title with a win against Stallion-Laguna in the nightcap of another three-match fixture presented by Qatar Airways and sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board.
Posting its second consecutive draw, Kaya-Iloilo remained in second place with eight points with only UCFC left in its schedule.
Kaya-Iloilo patiently chased for a match-winner, but Balobo pulled off a series of spectacular saves in the second half.
The result was a huge morale boost for Mendiola FC after losing to UCFC, 0-6, and Azkals Development Team, 0-2.
“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 Mendiola mentor Dan 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.”
The 22-year-old Balobo, who was a late cut from the PH Under-22 squad that saw action in last year’s 30th Southeast Asian Games, once again raised his stock with an impressive display.
It was also Balabo who saved a penalty against ADT last Tuesday.
“He is a hungry young lion who wants to prove himself out there in the (football) jungle,” said Padernal on Balobo.