Ceres-Negros scored a 2-1 (3-1 agg.) victory over visitors Kaya FC-Makati in the semifinal second leg of the PFL last December 9, 2017. Bienvenido Marañon opened the scoring for Ceres but Antonio Ugarte levelled the score in the first half. Iain Ramsay scored the winner for the busmen in the second.
Ceres had a dream start when Marañon completed a great team play with laser precision. Dods Pasinabo started the play by releasing Omid Nazari in the wings with the midfielder crossing perfectly towards the Spaniard. Marañon literally rose to the occasion and headed into the far post past the reach of Ref Cuaresma.
The two-goal aggregate cushion was slashed when Antonio Ugarte scored the rebound just before halftime. The Kaya midfielder converted on a weak Roland Müller punch to level the match and break the game wide open for a Makati comeback.
Both teams fought well at the start of the second half which led to half chances for both squads. The home squad had a chance from wide but OJ Porteria’s attempt was off target. Kaya were the more dangerous squad but their finishing got the best of them when they needed the most.
Jovin Bedic received a great through ball after he was all alone but his final pass was nowhere near his open opponents in front. The most telling of all was Jordan Mintah’s attempt in front of goal which was headed wide.
Junior Muñoz and Stephan Schröck came in to the second half to provide added firepower for the Negros squad. Kaya made a hanfe Eric Giganto who came in for Marwin Angeles.
Iain Ramsay put the tie beyond contention with a wonderstrike in the 78th minute. A confusion in the Kaya box saw Cuaresma rushing in for a ball but Alfred Osei cleared the ball ahead of the keeper.
Ramsay latched on to the weak clearance and chipped the ball towards goal with his weaker right foot. The ball sailed gracefully over a retreating keeper and dipped well into goal which sent the Panaad crowd rocking.
The referee blew the final whistle after five additional minutes in second half making Ceres-Negros 3-1 winners in aggregate. The busmen earned the trip to the PFL Final where they will face Global Cebu in December 16. The win also assured Negros’ participation in the 2018 AFC Cup.