Ceres-Negros succumbed to a 0-3 defeat against an inspired Stallion Laguna last September 15 at the Binan Football Stadium Laguna. Jess Mellizza scored a brace while Ruben Doctora Jr. added a goal for the home squad.
Stallion went to a flying start pressing Ceres hard and earning a couple of shots in the first five minutes. Melliza and Doctora had their own chances early but the Ceres defense was there for the block.
The home squad was relentless especially on the break which forced Roland Muller to two consecutive saves midway in the half. The veteran foiled a Nic Ferrer shot from wide with a leg save and miraculously clipped a long range volley from Melliza that was set to go in.
Laguna would not be denied in the 24th minute when Doctora pounced on a rebound before he buried the ball to the bottom corner for the opener. They almost doubled the lead from point blank with Melliza but Muller was again there to block the danger.
Ceres had their best and only chance in the half when Blake Powell eluded the Stallion defense but Stallion import Ko Kyunjoon chased the Aussie for the last second tackle.
Stallion made it 2-0 minutes before halftime when a well timed run allowed Yannick Tuazon to break the trap before he passed towards a streaking Melliza who made no mistake. The home squad finished the half with a commanding 2-0 advantage.
The Laguna-based squad picked up where they left off in the first half and scored seven minutes after the restart when substitute Fitch Arboleda initiated a counter that allowed him to lay-off to Melliza who completed his brace and Stallion’s third goal.
Things went from bad to worse when Super Herrera pulled Tuazon down on a counter which earned him a second yellow and a trip to the dressing room.
Ceres-Negros tried to recover with the introduction of some players in the second half but the man and goal deficits were too much allowing Stallion to walk away with the big victory.
“We know Stallion would give a hundred percent and more in this match. They always have a good performance every time we play them here in Binan. ” said Ceres assistant Ian Treyes.
“Unfortunately, some of our players came from Bahrain so the preparation was not enough. Hopefully we can do much better in the next game with everybody present,” Treyes added.
Ceres-Negros will need to do so much better in their final matches after dropping their second straight assignment in the cup. They will need to overcome their final two matches against Stallion and Davao to have a chance in reaching the semis of the tournament,
The busmen will again face Stallion on September 19 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Kickoff is scheduled to start at 7PM.
All photos from the Philippines Football League