Fresh from winning the 2019 Philippines Football League trophy last October 19 without suffering a loss, Ceres-Negros might be gearing up for total domination of the domestic football with players hinting at an all-out campaign for the Copa Paulino Alcantara.
The initial celebrations of the club may just have ended as of this writing, which will be followed by a much deserved rest, relaxation and recovery after achieving a monumental feat in the history of Philippine professional football, but some of the key players are already starting to set their sights on the cup campaign and really challenge to win an unprecedented “double”.
Spanish striker, Bienvenido Maranon, who top-scored for The Busmen with 30 goals already provided his intent on winning the Copa Alcantara believing that that the club has the ability to take it all this 2019.
“We have to enjoy (winning this title) for one week then, it’s time to prepare for the cup… Ceres is not gonna play (just) to lose or to draw. We got to have to play to win everything because Ceres deserves to win everything.”
Meanwhile, Robert Lopez Mendy of Senegal returned to the PFL midseason with a bang, immediately finding his form for his new club will look to maintain his scoring touch to win the Copa Alcantara, a title in which he helped his former team Kaya FC Iloilo win last year through his late strike.
“It was an exciting season. After securing the league title we wanted to finish unbeaten and we were able to achieve it. It was a good experience.
“My individual target is always the same which is to score goals. That’s my job. But I think for the team, it’s the same objective which we have to do which is to go out there and win whatever we can win.”
Another newcomer to the club, one of the only two Azkals “centurions”, James Younghusband also personally looks forward to the next cup campaign after the team concludes its league championship celebrations when asked about going all-out.
“Sure, you always want to go all-out (to win the cup. But) it’s all up to the coach (Risto Vidakovic). He’s the mastermind and he’s the one who makes the great decisions… But now we’re just enjoying the celebrations the moment that we’ve won the league then we’ll have a short break and then (the team) will come together and focus on the cup.
“As for me personally I’m looking forward to (the Copa Paulino Alcantara) especially playing against the (Philippines) Under-22.”
Ceres-Negros might have the ingredients this 2019 to swoop for two trophies, a first-ever in Philippine professional football era if they pull it off successfully, given their squad depth.
But how the team competes in the tournament will depend overall on the main objectives and approach from Ceres Head Coach Risto Vidakovic if winning the cup will be a top priority given that his team are in for another grinding set campaigns as AFC Champions League qualification or AFC Cup are now in-line after their successful domestic league championship run.
A total of eight teams will vie for the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara which will have its draw on October 20. The first match-day is set on October 26.
Photo credit: Philippines Football League