Ceres-Negros FC continued its dominance in the Philippines Football League (PFL) after topping the competition anew, thanks to the 6-1 victory against arch-rival Global Cebu FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last July 25th.
The Busmen relied on the hat-trick of Bievenido Maranon to help Ceres-Negros for its second PFL title. The Spanish striker found the back of the net in 20th, 70th and 88th minute.
Mike Ott, Omid Nazari and newly-acquired Blake Powell also helped the Busmen in the offensive side in nailing their own goals in 36th, 40th, 74th minute respectively.
Marvin Angeles was the lone Global-Cebu player to finding the back of the net, in which he did in the 48th minute.
“If you look back, it (2nd PFL campaign) was not easy. We played many games, every 3 days, many injuries and we played against Kaya in Iloilo and it was really close. If you lose there, maybe it’s only 3 points difference so big pressure but we won there and I think this team deserves this title again because I think we played the best football in the league,” recalled head coach Risto Vidakovic on the run of Ceres-Negros via Rappler.
Ceres-Negros had 54 points on their tally, enough to take the PFL crown despite there were three games remaining in their assignment but, the points accumulated of the Busmen is still enough to maintain a sizeable lead. On the other hand, second placer Kaya FC Iloilo had 42 points as of now, which is not enough to affect Ceres-Negros’ leadership in the standings.
The current PFL season is still ongoing to determine the placing of five other participating teams.
‘’This wasn’t an easy year,” said Ceres-Negros defender Carlie De Murga via Inquirer.net. “We didn’t have pre-season because we played right away in the Champions League. And it seemed like we were always playing three matches in eight days. But we persevered and sacrificed to reach our goal.”
Ceres-Negros also earned a playoff spot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions Cup, which will take place next year as a result of winning another PFL crown. If they failed to pass the playoff round, they will see action in 2019 AFC Cup.
After their early exit in the 2018 AFC Cup, the Busmen attention will be switched in the PFL’s second tournament of the year- the Copa Paulino Alcantara.
The PFL second tournament was named after Paulino Alcantara – the first –ever Filipino to play for European club team. The draw will happen on August 26th while the competition proper will kick off on September 1st.
Initially, all PFL teams will participate in the tournament. The PFL will allow non-member football clubs to participate but they need to satisfy the minimum licensing requirement, set for the competition.
Azkals team manager congratulated France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on World Cup championship
Philippine Azkals’ team manager Dan Palami is happy about France’s goalkeeper Alphonse Areola achieved in the recently-concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Areola, together with the established stars such as Paul Pogba of Manchester United, Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint- Germain and Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid captured the World Cup title against Croatia, 4-2 but Areola, currently playing for Paris Saint- Germain failed to see action in the duration of the tournament as he only played as a backup goal keeper for the first choice – Hugo Lloris.
‘’Of course, you can’t help but think about the what ifs,” Palami told the Manila Bulletin. “But you have to be happy for Alphonse and where he is right now.”
Palami narrated, he invited Areola to join the Azkals in 2011, while the latter is still eligible to represent the Philippines but the Filipino-French chose the Les Blues.
Areola is part of France championship team during the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. During the finals against Uruguay, Areola, born on two Filipino parents saved two penalty goals to help the Les Blues to take the championship.
In the last 2017-2018 France Ligue 1 season, Areola was the first choice of The Parisians as goalkeeper. The 25-year-old worked his way-up from the youth ranks to PSG.
Areola was also part of France’s U-16 to U-21 teams in his early years and earned a call-up from the seniors team in 2015.
“He said he’d considered it,’’ Palami added on Areola answer on that time on his offer.
“He went on to save two penalties in the shootout finals and right then I knew he was to be called up to the senior squad of France,” Palami explained as he first encounter Areola during the Homeless World Cup in 2011.
Despite missing the opportunity to recruit Areola, Palami is still happy on the talent the Azkals had on goalkeepers.
“That’s why I’m glad that Neil Etheridge had committed to the Philippines and that we got him early on in his career,” Palami expressed, referring to Etheridge, who currently playing for Cardiff City FC in the Premier League and made his Azkals debut back in 2008.
Aside from Etheridge, the two other goalkeepers in the current Azkals line-up are Nick O’Donnell and Patrick Deyto.