Armed with a deeper and more experienced squad, Meralco Manila skipper James Younghusband insists his side isn’t looking past newcomer Ilocos United when they square off on Saturday in the Philippines Football League.
Meralco will be making its home debut at Rizal Memorial Stadium against an Ilocos side that drew with the Davao Aguilas, 1-1, last week in Vigan.
“We cannot take them lightly,” said Younghusband, who accounted for one of the goals in the 5-1 rout of Stallion Laguna at Biñan Stadium Saturday.
“We’re really happy with last week’s performance. It’s a long way to go but the win is good for our confidence. We need to keep improving. As a team, we scored goals but we think we can do better.”
A victory will extend Meralco’s lead, while Ilocos is seeking to move up after salvaging a point against Davao on Sunday.
Ilocos needed a 79th minute penalty from John Kanayama to cancel a 50th minute goal from Davao’s Dylan De Bruycker.
Former Meralco goalkeeper Baba Sampana and Anton del Rosario anchor the Ilocos defense, which is expected to have its hands full against the talented Meralco attack led by Phil Younghusband.
But Ilocos also poses a threat in another former Meralco player, Angelo Maragisan.
Ilocos coach Ian Gillan is confident that his side can cope with the threat posed by Meralco.
“We want to make this a competitive match,” said Gillan. “This game will be a good gauge for us because the players are performing well in training.”