Ceres-Negros escaped a late Green Archers United fightback to win 4-3 in their first Philippines Football League encounter last July 3 at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona Cavite.
The Busmen fired early in the game, racing to two goals after six minutes a Bienvenido Maranon dummy off a Mike Ott pass allowed OJ Porteria to smash the ball to the bottom corner in the 5th minute.
Stephan Schrock broke away from the Archers defense a minute later to round the keeper and send the ball to the back of the net.
The Archers got a goal back in the 12th minute when Jimuel Areola tapped in a free ball which was not collected by Roland Muller who was tripped prior to the play. No call was given by the referee.
The Negros squad made it 3-1 in the 18th minute when a cross was cleared to the back of the net by Archers defender Resty Gumban. The defending champs almost finished the game midway the half but attempts from Ott and Maranon both hit the woodwork.
Paolo Bugas had a good chance to get another one for the Archers but this attempt was well wide. It was in the 37th minute when Ceres-Negros made it four as Schrock found Maranon on the box before the Spaniard place it to the top corner.
Mike Ott almost added another after he beat the trap but Henry Bandeken was quick enough for the save on the solo attempt. Areaola completed his brace with a header to make it 4-2.
Both squads had good chances in the end from Maranon and Marvin Angeles but it was not meant to be as the Busmen would take a two goal cushion at the break.
The Green and White squad pressed early in the second half which resulted to plenty of chances for the home squad. A deflected clearance from Muller fell to Bugas but the midfielder failed to capitalize on the keepers position just two minutes from the restart.
They were rewarded eventually in the 54th minute when Areola outran the Ceres defense to slot in his hat trick and send the Archers faithful into celebrations.
The Archers piled the pressure after the goal which resulted to plenty of chances for the league newcomers. Areolas chance in front of goal went wide while his overhead kick went over the bar. Bugas had the best chance with a volley on the counter but the ball was off target.
The two-time PFL champs had the chance to put the game to bed but Otts attempt from inside the box was just wide of the top corner. Green Arches substitute found himself alone in the box but couldn’t control the cross in front of goal.
It was Ceres-Negros who had good chances fifteen minutes before time but United was resolute in keeping the game close. Curt Dizon broke free from the wings and found Schrock whose attempt was blocked by Marcellana. Maranon would have his own later own but Henry did well for the save.
The final chance came to the Archers in the 77th minute when Angeles broke free of the offside trap and found himself unmarked but his shot from the box was controlled by Muller.
Ceres-Negros controlled possession in the remaining minutes and produced half chances before they claimed full three points after the final whistle. Stephan Schrock was declared the Man of the Match.
The win pushed the busmen to third place at 10 points, trailing Stallion at 11 and Kaya at 15 points. They will face Stallion Laguna on Wednesday, July 6, at the Binan Stadium.
All Photos from the Philippines Football League