Ceres-Negros FC came from a goal down to score a 3-1 over Green Archers United and officially secured the PFL title last October 12 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas. Angelo Marasigan scored a goal while Bienvenido Maranon completed a brace.
The busmen went behind in the midway in the first half when John Celiz slotted in a free ball after a punch from Muller was not cleared by the defense.
The Negros squad pushed for an equalizer immediately but chances from Miguel Tanton, Maranon, and Robert Lopez Mendy were found begging.
Maranon had the best chance in the 34th minute after a Jeffrey Christiaens cutback allowed the Spaniard to shoot well but Henry Bandeken Fong did well to stop the attempt.
The Spanish striker had another good chance minutes later with a delivery from Tanton but he was denied by the crossbar. Super Herrera almost nicked one in injury time but his header to the ground bounced over the woodwork. The half would finish with Ceres-Negros trailing 0-1.
The defending champs came back with a vengeance just five minutes after the restart when a sublime long ball from Takashi Odawara was chased by Marasigan who controlled into the box and picked the top corner for the equalizer.
The Japanese midfielder almost put the busmen ahead in the 55th minute but Greggy Yang did well to clear the ball off the line. The Archers also had twin chances minutes later but Resty Gumban’s follow up went straight to Muller.
Chances from Maranon, Super, and Marasigan were threatening but they couldn’t seem to find the target thereafter. Both teams went toe-to-toe midway in the second half but incomplete deliveries from the Archers attack and heroics from Bandeken Fong kept the scoreline at 1-1.
The 80th saw a critical call Archers defender Ronie Aguisanda was judged for handball after coming in contact with a Ceres-Negros shot. Maranon stepped up on the plate to give the busmen the 2-1 advantage.
Tensions ensued the play when Gumban was sent off for touching the referee which left the Green and White squad to ten men. The Busmen got a third when Lopez Mendy connected with Maranon who made no mistake from ten yards to complete the scoring and the win for Ceres-Negros.
“We showed character today,” said Man of the Match Awardee Angelo Marasigan. “We knew it wasn’t gonna be an easy match. Our heads went down a little bit down for a few minutes but after that we regained confidence and we just took to the game plan and won the game. I’m proud of the team and I’m proud of everyone.” he added.
With the full three points in the bag, the busmen clinched their third straight Philippines Football League title with two games left to play. They will face Mendiola FC and Kaya FC on their final matches with the awarding set on their final match on the 19th in Lipa.
All photos from Philippines Football League/Pamela Puri