REBRANDED club, same result.
With a match to spare, United City FC wrapped up the Philippines Football League title with a 7-1 demolition of Stallion-Laguna FC Friday night at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
The club formerly known as Ceres-Negros FC, UCFC was simply dominant as it also secured a slot in the AFC Champions League next year.
“It is good that even if we changed management we are still the best team in the Philippines and we showed it again today,” said Spanish striker Bienve Marañon, who recorded his second hat-trick of the tournament presented by Qatar Airways and sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board.
Sealing a spot in the continent’s top-tier football competition for being the newly-crowned PFL champion was icing on the cake for UCFC.
“Now we will have a chance in playing strong clubs from China, Japan, Korea which we all look forward to,” said Marañon, who is seeking to gain Filipino citizenship – and become a member of the Azkals – through naturalization process.
UCFC now has maximum of 12 points and will gun for a perfect season against Kaya-Iloilo FC tomorrow.
Marañon was pleased for being UCFC’s top striker again and thanked the club’s new management for retaining his services to sustain the Busmen’s winning legacy
UCFC took over ownership from Ceres-Negros last July, ending the Bacolod-based club’s eight years of existence in football.
Meanwhile, Jarvey Gayoso scored twice as the Azkals Development Team overwhelmed Maharlika Manila FC, 5-0, for its second straight win.
Holding a a slim 2-1 halftime edge, UCFC settled the issue by racking up five goals in the last 45 minutes.
Marañon struck in the 58th, 66th and 74th minute, midfielder Mike Ott netted a brace (4th and 54th), while Takashi Uddawara and OJ Porteria also entered the scoresheet for UCFC.
Although UCFC conceded its first goal of the season as Stallion-Laguna’s Senegal striker Ibrahim N’dour scored the team’s solitary goal in the 11th minute, it does not matter for coach Frank Muescan’s side.
Having worked with the Busmen in the past helped Muescan settle in the club even after the hiring of Trevor Morgan, who could not make it to the country due to travel restrictions.
“Ang kagandahan is that I’ve been with them for the last four years. They know me and accepted me so the respect was swift,” said Muescan.
Aside from delivering a brace, Gayoso displayed his versatility by assisting Chima Uzoka’s pair of goals in the second half.
ADT coach Scott Cooper also praised Gayoso’s all-around performance.
“He (Gayoso) deserved to be up front with that header in the last game,” said Cooper after ADT improved to six points.
“There’s no doubt that Jarvey’s an attacking man but I believe he’s better if he sees things in front of him rather than waiting on things,” he added.
“Versatile is a good description for Jarvey: He’s shown he is good on set pieces, his shown he can finish with composure, he has a great engine.”
Maharlika and Stallion-Laguna remained at three and one, respectively, in the table.