It was raining goals in a cold night in Bacolod as Ceres-Negros FC dumped Ilocos United 5-0 last September 30 in Panaad Stadium. The Bacolod squad completed their mastery of Ilocos at home with four players in the score sheet with Stephan Schrock getting a brace.
The busmen displayed their attacking prowess with their first chance as early as the 2nd minute when a through ball to Arnie Pasinabo saw the midfielder laying off to OJ Porteria whose attempt was headed out by defender David Kamau.
The home squad broke the ice three minutes later when Bienvenido Maranon fired to the far post after catching a loose ball in the box to make it 1-0. The Spanish attacker almost double the advantage minute later when faced with a similar situation but Adam Mitter was there to block the opportunity.
Ceres controlled the action early and were rewarded with another goal in the 19th after Fernando Rodriguez volleyed in a deflected ball in front of goal. The striker almost scored a brace moments later but his shot off a Pasinabo pass was saved by Baba Sampana. The two players connected again in the 28th but the Spaniard’s shot was tapped out by the defense.
Carli de Murga would join the scoring just before the hour mark when his well-placed header off a corner beat Sampana to make it 3-0 to the delight of the home crowd. Ilocos had its best chance a minute later when Charlie Beaton broke the offside trap to earn space before releasing to Arthur Kouassi who missed a free header for his squad.
The home squad showed great teamwork in the build up in the 32nd when a lofted pass from Schrock was controlled by Pasinabo who back-heeled a pass to Junior Munoz whose shot was spectacularly saved by the Ilocos keeper.
Porteria attempted a long range effort in the 33rd minute but Sampana was there for the save. It wasn’t Sampana’s night as the Ilocos keeper saw Schrock’s deep cross changing direction before it curled in and over him for another Ceres-Negros goal.
Ilocos United buckled down on defense in the second half, limiting the home team’s incursions in the final third. They had a good chance from Chima Uzoka in the 5oth minute but his one time volley took a deflection before Roland Muller secured the danger.
United would get another chance on a counter attack when a run by Koassi on the right allowed him a cross to a rushing Beaton. The Ilocos midfielder was unmarked but he failed to connect well to the pass to threaten substitute Mike Casas.
Maranon and Schrock would again connect in the 73rd after Schrock’s well timed run from the Spaniards perfect delivery resulted to the Filipino rounding the keeper for Ceres’ fifth goal.
Ceres-Negros had another attempt in the 81st when Pasinabo’s low cross was flicked in goal by Maranon but the Ilocos keeper did a fine save to prevent a sixth goal. Former USLS standout Joshua Dutosme made his PFL debut after he relieved Junior Munoz in the 82nd minute.
Sampana was again called to duty in the 84th as he blocked consecutive chances from Porteria and Rodriguez in front of goal. Patrick Reichelt came in for Schrock minutes from time to play some minutes after getting inured in early September.
Ilocos would have its final chance in the 90th when Kouassi again found his teammate Juan Gonzales in the box but the substitute did not do well enough to test Casas. Ceres would have its own in injury time when Reichelt laid off to Porteria in the box but the midfielder shot over the cross bar.The match ended with Ceres completing an emphatic 5-0 victory over the northern squad.
The win pushed the busmen to third place with 35 points just nine points adrift of league leaders FC Meralco Manila. The Bacolod squad however has played five less games than the leaders and have an opportunity to battle for the top spot in the next two months.