Ceres-Negros came from two goals down to produce a 4-3 victory over Stallion Laguna last October 10 at the Binan Football Stadium. Stephan Schrock and Mike Ott scored a brace for the busmen while Edris-Nasser Najim, Abou Sy, and Jan Melliza scored one apiece for Stallion.
Stallion Laguna struck first with a beauty from Edris-Nasser Najim in the ninth minute after the midfielder hit a left footed shot from outside the box. The Laguna squad doubled the lead when Abou Sy capitalized on sloppy defending to tap in the second at the 15th minute.
The Busmen found the back of the net three minutes later when Schrock’s attempt bounced of the defender and in to make it 2-1. The league champions found the back of the net again just before the hour mark when Mike Ott redirected a Junior Munoz cross to make it level.
The Negros squad had a good chance in the 34th when Schrock set up Ott for a shot after a free kick but Nelson Gasic was in full stretch for the save. Stallion had the final two chances in the half from Nate Alquiros and Abou but both didn’t meet their intended targets.
Stallion started the half well as substitute Fitch Arboleda came up with a strike from outside but Jun Badelic was there for the easy save. Arboled found Abou in the 54th minute but the striker shot wide.
Robert Lopez Mendy broke from the defense in the 57th before he set up Schrock in front of goal. However, his left footed shot in front of goal miseed the target.
Jess Melliza almost put Stallion Laguna ahead but his well hit shot was collared by Badelic. Both teams would have golden opportunities in the 67th minute but Arboleda and Dylan De Bruycker couldn’t convert inside the box.
The three-time champs finally went ahead in the 69th minute when Schrock converted a free ball after some confusion in the box. Lopez Mendy went down on the challenge but the Ceres captain played on to score the go-ahead goal.
Ceres-Negros made it four in the 77th minute when James Younghusband’s cross bounced in front of goal an into Mike Ott who headed in his second of the night.
Stallion pulled one back five minutes from time when Melliza finished past Badelic on the counter. Abou sy cleverly drew defender before switching past a free Melliza to make the final minutes interesting.
Matt Nierra came up with rebound off a corner in in the 89th but the ball went straight to the arms of Badelic. The final chance came in injury time from Arboleda who broke free on the counter but Badelic came away with a fine block on the play.
The referee blew the final whistle and Ceres-Negros came away with a victory and a place in their first Copa Paulino Alcantara Final.
“We are so very happy with the result,” said Assitant Coach Ian Treyes. “Two down but we came back with the 2-0 win. We played our best in the second half and each one especially Schrocky gave their 100 percent.”
Man of the Match Stephan Schrock was very happy with the team’s performance especially from coming from two goals down and finishing with the win.
“It was real cup fight. From two-nil down we went four-two up. Unfortunately with my mistake, in the end me made it tight again a little bit. A little bit shaky in the end but overall everybody stepped up during this competition and everybody is proud of what we’ve achieved,” said Schrock.
Ceres-Negros will meet Kaya Iloilo in their first Copa Paulina Alcantara Final which is set on October 16 5PM at the Binan Football Stadium in Laguna.
All photos from Philippines Football League