By Karlo Sacamos
LOYOLA Meralco underscored its offensive might on Tuesday night, scoring a lopsided 10-1 win over a listless Philippine Army side to start its second-round campaign on a bright note in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Phil Younghusband and Mark Hartmann fired four goals apiece, while two others found the back of the net for the Sparks, who grabbed the provisional hold of second spot with 23 points.
The one-sided win is also the biggest margin of victory this season.
"It's always nice to bounce back after a bad defeat," Sparks coach Vince Santos said. "We were shaky in the first half. Obviously we weren’t ready to do a change in our system so we had to revert back to what we were used to and then we settled down in the second half."
The Sparks, who beat the Troopers, 4-1, in the first round, did start rather slow as they couldn’t pull away after Hartmann struck just three minutes into the game.
Luisito Brillantes pulled a goal back for Army in the 28th minute as the game was tied at the half.
Turning it up a notch in the second half, the Sparks broke the game wide open with a ruthless attack that saw nine unanswered goals, including one each from Jang Jo Won and Matthew Hartmann.
It was a sensational effort for the Sparks, who were missing three key players to injuries and red-card recipient skipper James Younghusband.
“While they're out, I'm happy with how everyone is responding given the opportunity," Santos said.
The Troopers, also without captain Roel Gener after he incurred a red card in their last game, stayed in ninth place with four points to show.