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Originally published by Panay News Online

Eric Giganto converted a goal when it mattered the most as Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo escaped with a 1-0 win over the Azkals Developmental Team in the 2022-2023 Philippines Football League on Sunday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Giganto, who was subbed in at the 81st minute of the game, was at the right time to head the ball past Azkals Developmental Team goalkeeper Julian Schwarzer in the 90+1 minute for a 1-0 lead.

The connection of the former Far Eastern University Tamaraws star was more than enough to propel the three-peat seeking Iloilo-based football club to an early lead in the competition.

“I really expected that it will be a tough game,” said Kaya-Iloilo head coach Yu Hoshide. “Before (Giganto) scored, he had really good chances as well. I’m sure he was always in the right positions even in training, that’s why I put him in the last minutes.”

Prior to Giganto’s connection, Kaya-Iloilo had a hard time penetrating through the defense of Schwarzer as he denied goal attempts by Giganto, Jarvey Gayoso, and Kaya skipper Jovin Bedic.

“I know (ADT) is still developing but you can see nandun lumalaban, sa possession nakikipagsabayan. Mga bata pa nga pero may potential. Hopefully, sa future, makita rin natin na like locals like me na mag-pe-perform at this stage, level,” said Giganto.

Four-time defending League champions United City Football Club, meanwhile, also had a rousing start this season following a 5-0 domination of the Maharlika Manila Football Club.

Curt Dizon broke the ice for United City FC with his conversion at the nine-minute mark. It was tripled just before the halftime break via a 25th minute hit by Alan Robertson and 36th minute connection by Matthew Custodio.

United City FC did not slow down in the second half as Kenshiro Daniels knocked down the fourth goal at the 48th minute before Pocholo Bugas nailed the final goal of the game at the 59th minute.

“The caliber of players we have at our disposal will always make us an automatic contender,” said United City FC team owner Eric Gottschalk. “So we are really aiming for a title repeat here.”