Mendiola FC 1991 put up a valiant stand Friday to hold fancied Kaya-Iloilo FC to a hard-earned goalless standoff in the Philippines Football League at the PFF national training center field in Carmona town, Cavite.
On a sunny morning, Mendiola rained on Kaya’s parade in putting up a stout defensive effort, packing the back row whenever its opponent went on the attack to finally gain a point after back-to-back losses in the competition presented by Qatar Airways.
Easily standing out was young Cebuano goalie Kenry Balobo, who displayed poise in frustrating the repeated and relentless assault of their rivals in preserving the well-earned draw in the tourney sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation.
Desperately needing a win to keep their title hopes alive, the charges of coach Yu Yoshide practically dominated from start to finish but just couldn’t find the back of the net despite several chances for their second straight stalemate to remain in second spot with 8 points.
“While my boys wanted to win I believe they did not give their full 100 percent,” Hoshide said of the frustrating outcome at the post-match presser that left their championship aspirations in the balance.
“Maybe my boys were a bit tired with only two days of rest between games. I don’t know,” added the bewildered mentor following the side’s tough 1-all tie against Stallion-Laguna last Tuesday.
The team’s last match on Monday is against pacesetting United City FC, which was scheduled to play the charges of Stallion-Laguna Fc mentor Ernie Nierras in the day’s nightcap of the tourney also supported by the Games and Amusements Board.
“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,” Mendiola coach Dan Padernal said.
“I really pressured my boys to do better because it would have been embarrassing if we lost our third straight match,” Padernal said,” so we finally gave our opponents a good fight.”
Padernal likewise praised the stellar defensive display of Balobo, who was a late cut from the PH Under-22 squad that saw action in last year’s 30th Southeast Asian Games, describing the former San Beda mainstay as “a hungry young lion who wants to prove himself out there in the (football) jungle.”
Balobo, hands down the man-of-the-match, said being left out of the SEA Games was a major motivation in improving his attitude and goalkeeping skills to show that he could be an asset for any team or club he plays for.
“I have moved on from that experience and I used that as motivation in making myself a better player so I could show everybody that I deserve a second chance in the national team,” the 22-year-old goalie said.