Manila, Marikina brace for Blue Line brawl

Alvin Sarmiento and Meralco Manila are looking to extend their reign at the top of the PFL pile when they take on JPV Marikina on Saturday.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--Saturday's tussle between Meralco Manila and JPV Marikina will definitely be the match to watch in the eighth week of the inaugural Philippines Football League season in more ways than one.

Apart from being the top two sides in the lead-up to their second meeting this year, bragging rights are at stake for the cities that host the eastern and western ends of the LRT 2 in a 7 p.m. kick-off at the Rizal Memorial.

It will be a statement game for both teams, and as for Marikina gaffer Dan Padernal, they are looking to shut down one part of the Sparks attack to wrest the lead at the top away from the hosts as they seek their sixth straight win of the season.

"Meralco [Manila] is good in counterattack so we are preparing for that," Padernal said during their pre-match conference at the nearby Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Friday.

Alvin Sarmiento welcomes the return of Milan Nikolic and Tahj Minniecon from suspension but stressed the importance of this fixture if they will extend their stay at the top.

"It will be a tough battle. They are right behind us in the standings. It's gonna be a good game and hopefully we can get a result. The team can have a good laugh and giggle at times but we know when it's time to get serious. And we know how to fight for each other," he said.

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