Ceres-Negros blanked on a first half blitz to outclass Stallion Laguna 5-0 last August 14 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas. Bienvenido Maranon topscored with a brace while Mike Ott, Carlie De Murga, and Robert Lopez Mendy added one goal apiece.
It wasn’t the best start for the busmen in the match as Stallion Laguna had the better chances early. Jess Melliza had an early chance in the 6th minute that was saved by Jun Badelic.
The busmen had twin chances in the 14th minute when Takashi Odawara won the ball before passing to Ott whose pinpoint shot was deflected for a corner. De Murga rose to meet the set piece but his header was way over.
The Laguna squad had the best chance a minute later when Melliza broke the offside trap setting up a one on one but finished poorly in front of goal which was easily collected by Badelic.
The 20th minute saw end-to-end action as Stephan Schrock’s volley was saved by Nelson Gasic. Stallion restarted immediately and quickly reached the other side of the pitch but defensive line did well to tame the effort.
They would continue dogfight in the middle of the half as Balot Doctora shot wide of the goal and Schrocks cross was half a second ahead of Lopez Mendy in front of goal.
A foul on Mike Ott at the edge of the box allowed Ceres-Negros a free kick but Schrocks attempt was punched wide and was immediately cleared by Abou Sy.
Ceres-Negros pushed the tempo up the hour mark after a rebound attempt from Lopez Mendy hit Maranon which the Spaniard redirected to the back of the net for the opener.
The Busmen piled the pressure and built from the back three minutes later to allow Schrock a beautiful cross towards Ott who calmly taps in the second goal.
Things went from bad to worst for Stallion as Gasic handled a backpass near the penalty spot forcing the referee to call an indirect free kick. Maranon stepped up for the kick and cheekily passed it to De Murga who slammed it in for the 3-0 lead.
Stallion would earn two half chances near the end but the busmen finished the half with the big advantage.
The Laguna squad started the half bringing more experience with the addition of OJ Clarino and Fitch Arboleda. The action became a bit more physical as plenty of fouls were given in the early part of the second half.
A tackle from behind from Melliza on Super was only given a warning while a subsequent challenge from Yeonphyo on Miguel Tanton was given a yellow. Sean Kane was replaced by Angelo Marasigan after another bad tackle in the middle of the pitch.
Ceres-Negros added to their advantage in the 64th minute when Maranon found Lopez Mendy on the box. The Senegalese striker controlled to the reverse side before he volleyed in the fourth goal.
Stallion had a couple of good chances to score but Ian Clarino, Park, and Arboleda didn’t hit their targets. Maranon and Lopez Mendy also had their own attempts but Gasic was there to foil the chances.
It was in the 88th when Maranon dispossessed the elder Clarino to set himself up on a one-on-one. The PFL top scorer chipped the onrushing keeper to make it five unanswered goals.
The Busmen would have a final chance in injury time after Lopez Mendy was fouled at the edge of the box. Designated team captain Super Herrera positioned for the set piece but his attempt was over the bar.
The referee blew the final whistle as Ceres-Negros went on to be unblemished in twelve straight games.
“The team, for the whole match, played very good,” said Coach Risto Vidakovic. “We controlled the match from the beginning till the end. and I think the guys played a serious game.”
“We played the last time against them, we drew 2-2 and we learned something from that. Now, we brought more focus and concentration in the game. We played with more intensity and the result, when we play serious, is normally a win,” he added.
Ceres-Negros will next play the Philippine Air Force on August 17 in Lipa, Batangas after a mandated schedule change by the league.