By Karlo Sacamos
A depleted Philippine Air Force side finally ended its dry spell in the United Football League with a 2-0 victory over Nomads on Thursday night at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Former national team striker Ian Araneta shone brightest by scoring both goals for the Airmen, who are off to a flying start in the second round of competition after going winless in nine games in the first round.
Although they remained in last place and possibly an automatic relegation, the Airmen are now just a point behind fellow Armed Forces team Army.
“Walang sukat (yung panalo),” a relieved Araneta said. “Sobrang saya namin. Parang champion na nga eh. Unang panalo ng season tapos magandang start ng second round.”
Chances of the Airmen finally barging into the win column seemed improbable entering the game as they were without several key players who are either injured or busy with their academics.
Even coach Edzel Bracamonte wasn’t around as he is currently in Iloilo for a previous commitment.
But the Airmen took advantage of an early opportunity after Nomads’ Samuel Fogg fouled Antonio Albor near the box, awarding Araneta a penalty kick that he converted only five minutes into the match.
Raring to get back, Nomads came up with attempts of its own in the second half only to be denied by Air Force goalkeeper Ken Dolloso, who had two crucial late saves.
Araneta added an insurance goal three minutes into stoppage by scoring on an empty goal.
“Salamat sa mga teammates ko na hindi bumitiw hanggang sa huli. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na,” said the 31-year-old Araneta, who has scored all but one of the Airmen’s six goals this season.
“Yung morale ng mga bata tumaas na naman.”
Nomads suffered its fourth straight loss, but stayed in seventh place with 11 points.