Ceres-Negros FC will resume its Philippines Football League campaign when it faces Stallion Laguna in their first league meeting on June 28, 2017 at the Panaad Stadium.
Both teams are currently in the bottom half of the standings with the Busmen currently in 5th place in the league with seven points after four games while the Laguna squad are in 7th with three points coming from three draws.
Ceres bounced back from their loss against league leading JPV Marikina and won a 3-1 decision at home against a tough Kaya squad. Stallion has been resurgent of late when they visited then Meralco Manila in Rizal Memorial,almost scoring a win but finishing with a 1-1 draw against the then league leaders.
Stallion Coach Armando Heria is hoping to carry the same momentum going into their first match against Ceres-Negros. “We’ll just fight the same like (we did) against Loyola because we are disadvantaged in height against Ceres,” said the veteran Coach. This (Ceres) team is strong and tough team so we have to maintain the same intensity like we played against Loyola,” he added.
Laguna Team Captain Ruben Doctora Jr. is in a homecoming of sorts after playing with the Bacolod squad for a few years. The current national player is both optimistic and cautious when he returns to face his former team in a very familiar environment. “We know the Ceres team is a tough team already and then some of our players have injuries and cards. But I feel comfortable here because I played here almost two years that’s why maybe I’ll do my best to play to play good for tomorrows game,” added the veteran.
The two clubs have historically played tough matches in the for United Football League. Ceres won their first encounter in July of last year with a 4-1 scoreline but Stallion pushed the then defending league champions to a 2-2 draw a month later. In this years preseason, both teams split their records with tha Bacolod squad winning the first encounter 6-2, while the Binan-based squad came back with a 2-0 win weeks later.
Ceres midfielder Martin Steuble is well aware of the Stallion challenge and confirms that the team is ready for tomorrows match. “I hope that everybody’s performance will be on top because that’s what we need against a strong opponent like Stallion. They always plays tough in every game, they fight for ninety minutes, we have to be ready too and we are.”
The home squad is coming off a tight schedule with four games in twelve days with one game played abroad. Steuble acknowledges the difficult schedule but is happy with the preparation the club has provided. “Of course we’re tired. We had a few games in our list and its gonna affect us whether we like it or not. Especially the game against Kaya was very tough, we had to fight until the end. But I think the whole club and the coaching staff makes sure that we get enough rest between the games and so we are really prepared and I’m sure were ready for tomorrow.”
The home squad will play Stallion twice in four days and Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic is approaching the fixtures one game at a time. “It’s not easy to play against the same team in a couple of days. But for me, well have to focus on the first match tomorrow and give hundred percent. After that we can talk about the next game. We never know what will happen. We will see what we have, how the players feel, and we will see if we change something or not,” said the Serbian-born mentor.
The Busmen will be looking to get a full three points in the afternoon match to keep in step with the top teams in the standings. The match kicks off at 4PM at the Panaad Stadium with the bleachers open for free admission. Grandstand tickets will be distributed two hours before the match.