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Originally published by Inquirer.net

United City FC (UCFC) put its title-retention drive into motion with a 5-0 thumping of Maharlika-Manila as the Philippines Football League (PFL) kicked off its 2022-23 season on Sunday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Curt Dizon, Alen Robertson and Matthew Custodio put the holders in front 3-0 in the first half before Kenshiro Daniels and Cholo Bugas also got into the scoring act after the restart to secure the full three points to open the league campaign.

Goalkeeper Jun Badelic also picked up a clean sheet despite threats by Maharlika to score, including a penalty by Kim Sungmin which he was able to prevent in the first half.

UCFC, which won the last PFL edition in 2020 and is eyeing a domestic double after ruling the Copa Paulino Alcantara a few months ago, took the early lead in the table despite being level on points with Kaya-Iloilo.

Kaya earlier needed a last-gasp header from Eric Giganto to nip the Azkals Development Team, 1-0, in the opener.

Giganto’s goal came during stoppage time as Kaya sneaked past an ADT side which fielded debuting goalkeeper Julian Schwarzer for the first time.

The 21-year-old is the son of former Australia international Mark Schwarzer, who played goalie for Fulham in the English Premier League.

Stallion-Laguna and Mendiola FC 1991 open their season on Monday in the lone match set 4 p.m. at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite.