Davao Aguilas look to keep 'underdog' mentality intact as PFL club gets surprise shot at perfect season

Behind Uriel Dalapo's heroics, Davao Aguilas soared against Stallion Laguna to keep its surprise shot at the PFL season sweep alive. PFL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—MDL Philippines club RRQ Kaito set history as they became the first Filipino professional team to complete a full-season sweep in any league en route to becoming the esports developmental league's new champion.

Now that professional sports perfection has been accomplished, the question is will there be someone next in line?

As it turns out, following the results of Monday's MPBL games, five teams in all competitions are on track to possibly go n-0 as well.

One of them, however, is a club that probably only a few followers saw coming.

The Davao Aguilas are having a surprise PFL return run at the moment, and due to the season calendar used, the Tagum-based club, temporarily calling Makati home in the meantime, has a shot at an improbable title contention, much more the season sweep.

Davao is the only club that has yet to drop points this season, going 5-0-0 for all 15 points, although they are just one point behind defending champion Kaya Iloilo (16 points on five wins and one draw) in the team standings because Davao took the Week 1 bye.

Davao caught a big fish on the same night RRQ Kaito sealed its historic MDL PH run after stunning another title contender, Stallion Laguna, with a 1-0 win.

Uriel Dalapo struck the late goal that staggered the hearts of Stallion Laguna and its fans who trooped to the Rizal Memorial Stadium from BiƱan.

"It's amazing. It's mixed emotions. I can't even explain it," Dalapo told Dugout Philippines how he felt after he scored the goal, in which he dribbled past his defender at the left flank and struck the goal from just inside the left elbow.

The match against Stallion Laguna, however, is the front end of a tough two-match stretch that could determine if Davao is for real.

Up next for the Aber Ruzgal-coached side is One Taguig on Saturday night also at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

One Taguig knows how to spoil someone's bid to complete the season sweep early on as they held Kaya Iloilo to a goalless draw in Week 4.

One Taguig is even motivated to bounce back as they came from a tough loss at Dynamic Herb Cebu that snapped a five-match unbeaten run.

That is why Dalapo said that Davao should not be complacent.

"Football is football. That's why it's the most beautiful game. You don't know what's gonna happen," Dalapo further said, adding that his club's win against Stallion Laguna was indeed a shocker.

"We're not gonna underestimate them."

On the flip side, Dalapo believes that Davao's win against Stallion Laguna should earn them more respect from the rest of the PFL field.

"I believe they're not gonna underestimate us as well," Dalapo continued.

Despite that, Dalapo believes Davao, which was fresh from a shocking run to the final of the Copa Paulino Alcantara during the preseason, should not be called a PFL giant just yet.

"We consider our club as an underdog team, and we keep that mentality," he further said.

Still, never count out Davao in the title race just yet.

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