Ceres-Negros FC continued to rule the Philippines Football League(PFL) in capturing its third straight title in defeating Green Archers United, 3-1 last October 9th at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.
Bienvenido Maranon scored in the 81st and 87th minute for a brace but it was Angelo Marasigan that put The Busmen onboard during 50th minute after they behind, 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Green Archers’ John Celiz in the 24th minute.
“It’s a nice feeling. The guys they started very early and with all the problems we had all season and everything, this title is the most important of all three,” said Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic via BusinessWorld on clinching their third straight title in PFL.
“I think the guys showed everyone that they are very professional. They worked very hard during the whole year. Especially that we started January 5, we’re already nine months working very hard and it’s not easy,” he added, underscoring the kind of effort they put in their quest to win three straight league titles,’’ Vidakovic added as Ceres-Negros also secured in the preliminary round 1 of the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Ceres-Negros finished the season with 62 points and never lost any match this season.
“I’m just proud of the boys. We showed character today. We knew it wasn’t gonna be an easy match. They were gonna fight. Our heads went down a little bit down for a few minutes but after that we regained confidence and we just took to the game plan and we won the game. I’m proud of the team and I’m proud of everyone,” Marasigan said via ABS-CBN Sports as his goal in the 50th minute put Ceres-Negros back into the match against Green Archers.
Ceres-Negros owner Rey Yanson lauded their competitors that put a fight this season despite the uncertainty of the professional football scene in the country after the Philippine Football League folded just after one matchday in not meeting Philippine Football Federation (PFF) requirements, which lead into the revival of PFL.
“This has not been an easy season for everyone even at Ceres,” said Yanson via Inquirer.net after his club also experience difficulty this year due to internal squabble in the Yanson family due to the ownership of the Ceres bus line.
“We’ve had the honor of representing the PFL in past AFC competitions and without the clubs and the competition, this would not be possible. Although we are opponents on the field, we are still partners in the growth of the league and Philippine football.”
Philippine U-22 and Malditas assign in Group A for SEA Games Football
Both the Philippines U-22 team and the Malditas was assigned in Group A in 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s and women’s football tournament with the draw held last October 15th at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Pasay City.
The Philippine U-22 team group mates in Group A at the 2017 SEA Games men’s football tournament runner-up Malaysia, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste.
Defending champion Thailand was bracketed in Group B together with Indonesia,Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and Myanmar.
“We can fully focus on the teams that we will be facing in the elimination stage,” U-22 team manager Dan Palami said via ESPN 5. “I’m sure they (the other countries) will be preparing hard for this tournament, and we are doing that as well. We will have several chances to make sure we are successful.”
Part of the U-22 team preparation is competing against PFL clubs in the Copa Paulino Alcantara, which will kick off on October 26th.
Palami targeted the U-22 team to reach the semifinals since the Philippines failed to do after an age cap was implemented since the 2001 SEA Games.
Before the age cap was implemented, the best finish of the Philippines in men’s football was a fourth-place finish back in 1991 SEA Games held in Manila.
“I think we have never reached the semifinal round, so that is our target right now,” Palami added.
The Malditas meanwhile will join in Group A with Myanmar and Malaysia while reigning champion Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia will comprise Group B.
“There is a great chance for us to be in the semifinals grouped with Malaysia and Myanmar, teams that we already played against in the recent AFF tournament,” said Malditas head coach Let Dimzon via ESPN 5 as they looking to finish at the podium after their impressive showing in the AFF Women’s Championship recently.
“That tournament already gave us insight on the strength and weaknesses of these teams. With a collective effort and following one direction we can achieve it,” Dimzon further added as the Philippines’ last podium was back in 1985 SEA Games.
The SEA Games men’s football tournament will start on November 26th while the women’s football tournament will follow two days with the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium is the main venue for the men’s football tournament while the Binan Football Stadium in Binan, Laguna is the primary venue for the women’s football competition.