NOT even a power outage could stop Pachanga-Diliman's rise in the United Football League.
The 2012 Division 2 champions continued to impress in their maiden top-flight campaign, overwhelming Nomads, 3-0, on Saturday night in a game that was nearly called off after one set of spotlights at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig went out due to overheating.
Jason Cunliffe, Ariel Zerrudo, and OJ Clariño emerged the goal scorers for Pachanga, which tightened its grip on fourth place after raising its point total to 22 points, now four ahead of Kaya and nine behind defending champion Global.
The win, which avenged its 0-1 loss to Nomads in the first round, and the goal was a fitting birthday present for Zerrudo, the veteran striker who turned 32 on Friday.
It was Zerrudo’s first goal of the year after being one of Division 2’s leading scorers last season.
“Tagal na rin. Drought ako this season,” said the former University of the Philippines varsity player, who then described what a transition it has been for his squad this season.
“It is a big step. But come to think of it, we’re still in the process of getting our confidence pa. We’re proud of ourselves.”
The game, though, was halted nine minutes before second-half stoppage time when the one set of the spotlights suddenly went out after overheating.
The match commissioner could have decided to suspend the match for up to one hour until the lights came back. But after a few minutes of discussion, both teams agreed to just play on.
“Kung naalala mo yung sa Azkals, parang ganito rin. Pero dito naman, the field is playable and meron pa ring ilaw so I don’t think na ma-suspend,” Pachanga coach Noel Marcaida said, referring to the national team’s game against Cambodia in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup last March when the game was suspended for an hour due to an unplayable pitch caused by heavy rains.
“Gusto nila (Nomads) mangyari ma-abandon pero (instead na) mag-antay sila ng one hour, laruin na lang nila. Kaya pa naman. Pumayag rin sila.”
“Tsaka actually advantage sa kanila kasi mas maliwanag dun sa attacking side nila. Sa amin yung madilim,” the 32-year-old mentor.
Nomads, however, failed to exploit the edge as it reeled to its seventh straight loss to remain in sixth place with 12 points.