All roads lead to Panaad as Global Cebu FC takes on Ceres-Negros FC in the first ever final of the Philippines Football League on December 16 in Bacolod City. The two clubs will be fighting for the honor to be crowned the first national league champions in history.
Both squads have played tight matches in the league this year scoring only an average of 1.25 goals in their matches so far with most goals scored late in the match. Negros drew first blood in Panaad with a Jeffrey Christaens winner last June 3.
Cebu returned the favor in Abellana a month later with a 1-0 result after a Matthew Hartmann goal in the second half. Stephan Schrock scored the winner in Bacolod last September while Ceres surrendered a 2-0 defeat in the final matchup in Cebu.
Global progressed to the final after getting favorable results over two legs against FC Meralco Manila. The Cebu squad two late goals from Wesley dos Santos and Pika Minegishi to overcome a one goal deficit in the first leg. An early goal did not rattle the former UFL champs as they Rufo Sanchez scored an equalizer late in the match to bring them to the final.
Ceres scored a late winner in injury time courtesy of Schrock in the first leg in Makati. Bienvenido Maranon put the home squad ahead in the second leg but it was negated by a Kaya goal just before halftime. Iain Ramsay put the busmen through the final with a wicked lob to the delight of the Ceres faithful.
The two rivals have are both running on fumes at this time of the year, after participating in multiple tournaments this season. Impressive runs in the AFC Cup and Singapore Cup have maximized the Visayan squads’ capacity which has also added significant fatigue and injuries to their players.
Global and Ceres have met twice in the final twice for different competitions in recent years. It was Ceres-La Salle who clinched the UFL FA League Cup with a 1-0 scoreline in 2014. Global FC had the upper hand in the 2016 UFL Cup Final where they won 3-1. This final will be the tiebreaker for the matchup which will also award an AFC Champions League berth to the winner.
Kickoff is set a 6PM sharp on Saturday. A livestream will be made available to the fans via social media accounts of the PFL, Global Cebu, and Ceres-Negros . Tickets to the final can be purchased via SM Tickets or at the stadium prior to the match.