KAYA FC-Iloilo put the final gem to its first Philippines Football League (PFL) crown with a 3-1 dispatching of Stallion Laguna FC on Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Jhan Melliza delivered the go-ahead in the 65th minute and sub Jarvey Gayoso iced the game with his 85th minute strike as Kaya capped its maiden league championship run with the maximum points.
The Yu Hoshide-coached club ended its victorious campaign with 55 points on 18 wins, a draw and three losses — four markers clear of runner-up Dynamic Herb Cebu, which carded 51 markers on 15-6-1.
Stallion Laguna is assured of third place with a game to spare at 32 points (10-2-9).
It was the biggest achievement in Kaya’s 27-year existence. Before hitting paydirt, the Iloilo club posted league bridesmaid finishes behind Ceres Negros and United City and won the Copa Paulino Alcantara (Cup competition) in 2018 and 2021.
As the new PFL kingpins, Kaya earned a ticket to the group stage of the AFC Champions League.
Kaya actually had a lock on the league title as it entered the match against Stallion.
This was due to the fact that closest rival Cebu failed to overtake it in the final standings, having settled for a costly 0-0 stalemate with Laguna in its closing assignment three days before.
Tamon Horikoshi opened the scoring for Kaya with a header in the 35th minute. Mr. Hoshide’s wards maintained their one-goal cushion until defender Mr. Placito nodded in the equalizer for the Biñan-based club in the 58th. — Olmin Leyba