MANILA – Ceres Negros beat JPV Marikina 3-0 to cruise to its second straight win in the 2018 Philippines Football League while its regional rival Kaya Iloilo suffered a 1-3 loss to Stallion Laguna.
Takumi Uesato fired two while Bienvenido Marañon added another for Ceres to move up to first place with 6 points on two wins. JPV also had 6 points on two wins and two defeats.
“Everyone was very happy with how we played,” Ceres Negros assistant coach Ian Treyes said of the Saturday night match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
“We scored three goals and dominated the possession even if we had only a one-day preparation. The way the boys played tonight, we could not ask for more,” he added.
Ceres was fresh from Cambodia where it defeated Boeung Ket in their AFC Cup group stage match last Wednesday.
After scoring over the defense of JPV’s Nelson Gasic, Uesato doubled the lead in the 31st minute when he received the ball on the edge of the box and struck a left-footed shot.
JPV nearly pulled one back before the break but Kennedy Uzoka’s header try just hit the crossbar.
Marikina tried to make a run in the second half but Ceres’ Toni Doblas easily foiled all its attempts. Ceres had chances to widen the lead but Gasic’s defense was tight as well.
Ceres plunged the dagger in the 64th minute when Kevin Ingreso made a nice assist to Marañon, who calmly made the third goal.
“I feel so happy because we got the 3 points. It’s so hard to get the win after the long travel to Cambodia. But I think we did a really good job and I think we deserve this win,” said Marañon.
Over at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna, Stallion struck three goals in the final frame to not just cancel out an opener by Kaya’s Miguel Tanton but also take the full 3 points.
Tanton scored Kaya’s lone goal with a free kick from the top of the box that went into the left side of the goalmouth in the 15th minute.
Things began to change in the 35th minute when Ref Cuaresma collided with Jhan-Jhan Melliza, injuring him in the process, prompting head coach Noel Marcaida and team manager Chris Greatwich to bring in Ace Villanueva.
Stallion then entered the scoreboard in the 50th minute when Carlo Polli struck the penalty kick off with a Jalsor Soriano foul inside the box.
Melliza then gave Stallion the lead in the 74th minute when he found himself wide open after Villanueva chased for the ball.
The insurance goal came just before full time when Fitch Arboleda joined the scoring parade.
Stallion has now won twice against two losses but only 3 points will be flashed in its standing due to a point deduction slapped by the PFL earlier in the week. Coach Ernie Nierras said the club will appeal the decision.
Kaya fell to its second loss against one win and one draw. (Adrian Stewart Co and Philippine News Agency/PN)