Ceres-Negros overcame a resilient Stallion Laguna side to win its final PFL match 4-1 last August 25 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. Bienvenido Maranon topscored with two goal while Blake Powell and Martin Steuble added one goal each. Nathan Alquiros was the lone goal scorer for the visitors.
It was an entertaining match from the get go as both squads had early chances on goal. Curt Dizon connected with a Jerry Barbaso cross but his header went over the bar. Fitch Arboleda tried from a set piece but his attempt floated well wide.
Super Herrera broke a Stallion counterattack in the 9th minute after he was positioned well to intercept the final pass in the box.
Ceres produced plenty of good runs in the build up but Stallion was ready for the home team’s foray into the box. The Negros squad just couldn’t connect after being bothered by the Stallion defense.
It took thirty-two minutes before the home squad earned the advantage after Maranon intercepted a Stallion ball before unleashing a glorious left-footed chip over Jun Tripilca to make it 1-0.
Stallion tried to equalize in the 37th minute but a Jess Melliza attempt from the break was saved well by Roland Muller. Steuble had his own chance from a counter but Tripulca made a good save of his own.
Yannick Tuazon had the best chance for the visitors after breaking the trap but Muller came off his line to make it difficult for the winger. Tuazon tried to lift the ball over the rushing keeper but his ball went a yard wide of the post.
Ceres-Negros would get plenty of chances near halftime but attempts from Steuble, Omid Nazari, and Powell were blocked well by the visiting defense. The half would end with Ceres getting the slim 1-0 advantage.
The busmen doubled the advantage early in the second half when Powell send a cross into the box which bypassed the defense and allowed Martin Steuble to tap in the ball in the 49th.
Stallion fought back just a minute later when Alquiros led a three-man attack to slot in the goal back for the visitors to make it 2-1. They almost equalized minutes later when Melliza cross forward to Abou Sy but the striker underestimated the pass that went straight to the goal line.
With the visitors getting confidence with their speed and and good passing, the Ceres defense was made to work to prevent the equalizer. A superb tackle from Super and twin saves from Muller just before the hour mark were decisive against the resurgent Laguna side.
The PFL champs increased the advantage in the 67th minute when a well timed through ball from substitute Manny Ott allowed Powell to slide past the defense who wrong footed the keeper to score Ceres’ third.
Laguna was again dangerous midway in the half but their shooting was not ideal as dangerous chances from Dodong Villareal and Alquiros were all wasted.
Substitute Mike Ott tried to trick his way into the score sheet in the 82nd minute but his chance hit the first post and out. Barbaso had his chance minutes later but his attempt from inside the box sailed over the bar.
Late entrant Stephan Schrock tried to beat the keeper from distance but his chance from thirty-five yards was collected by Tripulca. Ceres-Negros extinguished all hope when Maranon released the ball to Ott who cut it back to the Spaniard who made no mistake in completing his brace.
Stallion had a brilliant chance to score in injury time after a clever pass from Alquiros allowed substitute Paolo Bugas to shott but Muller was once again on point as he saved the danger.
The final whistle blew as Ceres-Negros went away with a 4-1 victory in their final PFL match of the season