Ceres-Negros FC barged into its first Copa Paulino Alcantara semifinal after a 4-0 win over Green Archers United last November 6 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa Batangas. Stephan Schrock was declared Man of the Match after producing three assists.
Bienvenido Maranon was the first to get on target but his chance in the 11th went straight to the keeper. Stephen Appiah had a half chance just moments later but his shot from the dangerous area was off target.
The Busmen went ahead in the 16th minute when James Younghusband pounced on a rebound after a Schrock’s brilliant free kick was tapped to the crossbar by Bandeken Fong.
Mike Ott had his chance from a tight angle in the 23rd but the keeper came up with a fine save. The Archers mounted a counter ten minutes later but John Celiz shot wide.
Appiah broke free ten minutes later but Odaware slid to break the play. Celiz recovered well and lined up for a shot in the box but Dennis Villanueva did just enough to nick the ball. Ceres-Negros countered immediately as Schrock crossed the ball on the face of goal but no one was there for the tap in.
The Green and white squad had a couple of chances from Tating Pasilan and Appiah but none could hit the target. Younghusband was on target in the 43rd minute after breaking the offside trap but his attempt slammed the woodwork. The half would finish with the league champions with the 1-0 lead.
Both teams started the second half strong action was both teams figured in a tight midfield battle. It was only in the 68th minute when the second goal was scored when Ott sent a rocket to the top left corner after a brilliant cross from Schrock.
The two squads used up their substitution in the final half hour as Ceres-Negros brought in Junior Munoz, Robert Lopez Mendy, and Charles Barberan while the Archers put in Val Jurao and Jimuel Arriola.
The action started to pick up in the final fifteen when Barberan found Lopez Mendy with a cross that the Senegalese volleyed but was saved by Bandeken Fong.
The Busmen made it three in the 80th minute when Schrock found an overlapping Barberan with the former USLS man heading home his first goal of the season.
Lopez Mendy also joined the scoring after a well timed run allowed him to go on a one-on-one with Ray Joyel which he eluded to score his fourth goal of the tournament. The full time whistle blew as Ceres-Negros qualified for their first semifinal appearance in the Alcantara Cup.
“Were so happy to win this game,” said Assistant Coach Ian Treyes. “This (win) is for the club. We thank the efforts of everybody doing their best througout the ninety minutes.,” he added.
“Congratulations to the team,” said Schrock. “It’s not an easy situation right now as some players had to leave, some are injured, and some are out for personal reasons. Were very happy with the performance today and that we advanced to the semifinal.”
The league champions will next face Stallion Laguna in the Copa Semis while Kaya Iloilo will meet Mendiola, who came from two goals down from the Azkals U22 to secure qualification to the next round.
All photos from Philippines Football League