“Today we are a team. Today we are Davao Aguilas."
Coach Marlon Maro proudly beamed with pride after their impressive 4-2 win over the Ilocos United Conquistadores last Oct. 19 at the Quirino stadium in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
The win was the Aguilas second in a week after their 2-0 victory over the same team in their home stadium in Tagum Davao del Norte last Oct. 15.
Coach Maro has finally returned Davao Aguilas chairman Jeff Cheng’s trust in him with two wins since he replaced the luckless Australian Gary Philips who was sacked after their 3-1 loss to Global Cebu FC last Sept. 13 at the Cebu City Sports Center.
I saw that match against Cebu and I predicted that it was Shaw’s last match when he kept superstar Phil Younghusband on the bench most of the match. He put him in with few more minutes remaining and Phil responded by dishing the assist that Harry Sawyer blasted to the roof of the net in the 85th minute.
When asked why he did not start Phili Younghusband, Shaw said that he needed to rest Phjil as the former Chelsea player was tired as he just came back from an international duty.
Shaw had a point as he wanted to prepare Phil to more battles ahead. But with the season going full blast and the Aguilas needing as many wins as they could, they could not afford Phil on the bench.
Phil and his brother James are the faces of Philippine football. They were signed during the transfer window in August to bolster the Aguilas chances of entering the four team playoffs. I presume they are the highest paid stars in the team.
It is not logical for the coach to keep his best player on the bench. Phil is the highest scoring player in the Azkals history. If you ask him, he would like to play in all the remaining matches in the PFL unless he is bothered by an injury.
That was the last straw for the Aquilas as they then fired Shaw and replaced him with Marlon Maro. Maro actually has been targeted by the Aguilas since the start of the PFL this year. He has long been close to chairman Jeff Cheng.
However, he has a commitment with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) as a technical director. He has replaced former national coach Aris Caslib, who early this year resigned to take over the coaching job at the Meralco-Manila FC.
Meralco did not renew the contract of another former national coach Simon Mcmenemy.
Maro is also the coach of the National U23 team that won two matches in the Southeast Asian Games in the middle of this year in Malaysia. That team was also supported by Jeff Cheng.
It was rough sailing for coach Maro since he took over the Aguilas. They lost thrice, one against Global, 1-3 last Sept. 13, then against Ceres in Sept. 16, 1-3 and then to Meralco 0-2 last Sept. 23.
The Meralco defeat was their last setback however, as they drew Ceres 1-1, then the Stallions, 2-2 before they recorded their impressive double wins against Ilocos to now pile up 14 points on the table pulling away from Ilocos which is stuck at the bottom with only seven points.
The Aguilas will be beaming with confidence when they take on the still homeless JPV Marikina today at the Rizal Memorial stadium in Manila.
Marikina is in fourth place with 28 points and definitely wants to protect its chances of entering the playoffs. They are still without a home stadium as their home field in Marikina is still under
The Aguilas’ confidence is at all time high and they do not want to break their momentum. Hopefully, they will be the real Aguilas again today. (email@example.com)