Ceres-Negros FC’s marksman Bienvenido Marañon has been certified as the top goalscorer with 10 conversions under his belt in the recently concluded 2019 AFC Cup continental football competition.
The Spanish forward’s efforts helped the Bacolod-based Busmen and reigning domestic league champions reach the ASEAN Zonal Semifinals.
Marañon scored in almost all of the Filipino club’s fixtures in the group stage, save for one match, highlighted by his two hat-tricks with the first one against Vietnamese outfit Becamex Binh Duong held in Vietnam last March 12 that ended in a 1-3 win, followed by another stellar performance also in an away fixture against Shan United last April 16 that concluded to a 0-5 triumph.
Ceres-Negros’ continental campaign was only halted in its tracks by Hanoi FC in the ASEAN Zonal Semifinals knockout phase, but it wasn’t without a fight with the eventual top marksman scoring with a diving header in the 57th minute against the Vietnamese side in the first leg that was held last June 18 in Panaad Stadium.
Ruthless and lopsided victories by Ceres Negros and Green Archers United this past weekend have racked up the total number goals scored in the Philippines Football League 2019 to 110 breaching the century-mark as we revisit who, at the moment, are the top scorers in the league.
With three matches completed recently, Ceres Negros scored a dozen of unanswered goals to beat hapless Air Force accompanied by a tightly contested 1-0 win by Kaya against Stallion in a simultaneous fixture that transpired last Saturday, July 13. The two matches were then followed by a 9-0 dismantling of Global FC by in-form Green Archers United the following day, Sunday.
The massive 22-goal haul produced during the course of the weekend has put the current PFL season’s goals tally to well beyond the 100-mark as we look at who are the league leaders when it comes to shaking the back of the net for their respective clubs. Of course, we will also tackle the top performing brands of boots so as to see if there are any surprise names that put their name on the Philippine pro-football map.
PFL TOP SCORERS
Tied at 5th Place: 3 Goals
Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC Iloilo)
Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna)
Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna)
Chima Uzoka (Stallion Laguna)
Jimuel Ariola (Green Archers Utd)
Tied at 4th Place: 4 Goals
Curt Dizon (Ceres Negros)
Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)
Stephan Schröck (Ceres Negros)
Tied at 3rd Place: 5 Goals
Mike Ott (Ceres Negros)
John Celiz (Green Archers United)
2nd Place: 9 Goals
Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)
Marañon sits undisputed on the driver’s seat
On top of the standings is none other than Bienvenido Marañon.
Ceres-Negros’ lethal striker has already beaten the opposing defences 16 times making him the only one to get to double digits when it comes to scoring goals at this moment in the on-going season.
His telepathic understanding with talismanic midfielder Stephan Schröck where the Filipino international has been the provider for the Spaniard has been the biggest key producing seven of those goals from that tandem alone.
With the PFL 2019 still far from over, it can be expected that at this form, Marañon could score much more and may be well on his way to top the charts at the campaign’s conclusion.
TOP PERFORMING BOOTS
A total of seven football shoe brands have found the back of the net in the ongoing PFL 2019 season. Before we look into the top 3 most lethal footwear in the league here are the ones that made the list:
New Balance (1 goal)
Kipsta/Decathlon (1 goal) -> a welcome surprise!
Puma (2 goals)
Mizuno (4 goals)
TOP 2: ADIDAS Football
With 18 players who scored in the PFL wearing the three stripes on their feet, a total of 35 goals are attributed to the German brand with Jordan Mintah being at the forefront.
TOP 1: NIKE Football
Seemingly a favorite of most attacking players in the PFL with Ceres Negros midfield maestro Stephan Schröck as one of its leading disciples, 25 individuals found the back of the net while equipped with the swoosh brand for a whopping 59 goals all in all.
Wait, where’s TOP 3?
Well, it’s been saved for last since the brand can be considered the biggest climber with respect to its relative profile compared to the other global brands and it’s none other than CONCAVE which has Bienvenido Marañon to thank for.
Ceres’ most lethal striker, despite being signed under the Australian brand, began the domestic campaign wearing a different pair of boots opting to limit the use of his Concave Halo’s for the AFC Cup campaign where the Spaniard turned out to be one of the best goalscorers.
However, once The Busmen’s continental front has come to an end at the ASEAN Zone semifinals, Marañon began to wear Concaves in the PFL where he racked up eight goals in his Halo’s in just four matches to magically push the brand to third spot in the standings!
Now, the question is, with Marañon rocking a pair which does not have mainstream footprint in the Philippines (Concave Asia is based in Indonesia as per its Instagram account), can this influence the striker for a future move to a different country where the brand has a much more visible presence in the near future?
After Ceres-Negros ended their AFC Cup campaign with a loss against Hanoi FC in the ASEAN Zone semifinals, defender Alvaro Silva posted via his social media account that his tenure with the Bacolod-based club has come to an end.
Alvaro Silva joined Ceres-Negros from Malaysian club Kedah FA late January of 2019 where he was able to amass 8 appearances for the duration of the AFC Cup campaign and has started once in the Philippine Football League during their first match of the season against Stallion Laguna.
Before Alvaro Silva joined Ceres, he also played for the Azkals in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup where the squad reached the semifinals eventually being eliminated by Vietnam who would go on to be as champions.
Silva also was in the Philippine squad during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in Dubai, the nation’s maiden campaign in the tournament.
Playing mainly as a centerback, the 35-year-old Filipino international hailed from and started his career in Spain. His career highlights were stints with then LaLiga side Malaga (2006-09), a loan spell with Xerez, and also a significant tenure with Spanish club Cadiz (2009-11).
As of this writing, Silva’s next destination has yet to be officially declared.
Five players from Ceres-Negros and Kaya FC Iloilo have made the Top 10 goalscoring chart after two rounds of fixtures in the AFC Cup 2019 group stage.
Matchday 2 in the ASEAN Zone has been one to savor for Filipino football fans as both Philippine club representatives notch convincing wins in their respective assignments.
First up, Ceres-Negros notched their second win in as many matches with a 3-1 scoreline as Bienvenido Maranon scored a hat-trick away against Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong last Tuesday, March 12, at the Go Dau Stadium.
On Wednesday afternoon (March 13), Kaya Iloilo attains its first win of the campaign in emphatic fashion as they thumped Singapore’s Home United 5-0 in their designated home ground, the Panaad Stadium, as Darryl Roberts (2′, 37′) and Alfred Osei (49′, 55′) score two goals each while team captain Jovin Bedic also saw the back of the net off a 33rd minute effort.
Such results put five players from both Filipino clubs into the top ten goalscoring chart according to AFC.
Maranon’s hat-trick puts him in joint top spot with four goals in total alongside Al Wehdat forward Baha’ Seif and Hanoi FC striker Ganiyu Oseni.
Jovin Bedic, Alfred Osei and Darryl Roberts round up the scorers’ table alongside Ceres-Negros winger OJ Porteria, who scored two goals in the opener against Shan United last February 26, with two goals each.
From a team standpoint, both Filipino clubs also make waves in the scoring department as their respective outputs put them tied in fourth place with six goals scored in total for each.
Although, it is still very much early in the group phase, the positive results for both clubs in their respective Matchday 2 give them a head-start, putting them in a promising position as they aim to progress to the knockout phase.
Despite firing “yellow warnings” to oppositions, both Filipino clubs are up for mouthwatering clashes as Ceres-Negros host Indonesian giants and champions Persija Jakarta in Panaad on April 3 at 7:30PM, while Kaya travel to South Sulawesi in Indonesia to face Liga I runners-up PSM Makassar on April 2 at 4:00PM.
Both matches will be shown via ESPN5’s 5Plus and FOX Sports Asia channels.
Two of the biggest clubs in Philippine football, with differing situations in terms of how they arrive respectively in the tournament are set to kick-off their AFC Cup campaigns this week.
Ceres-Negros FC host Burmese club Shan United in Panaad on Tuesday while Kaya Iloilo visit Lao Toyota in Vientianne, Laos on Wednesday.
Despite coming in with differing track records in the tournament, both Ceres and Kaya arrive with the same aim – to get a winning start in their bid to contend and have a lengthy participation in the AFC’s most prestigious continental club tournament next to the Champions League.
Unwavering desire: Ceres-Negros FC
After being stopped in their tracks by Yangon United in just the first hurdle, The Busmen will try to move on immediately and put the disappointment from their lackluster AFC Champions League campaign behind as they commence their mission on familiar territory – the AFC Cup against Shan United.
A regular participant since 2015, Ceres-Negros use this continental platform to further test their mettle in the midst of their dominance of the Philippines’ domestic league.
Now buoyed by goalkeeper Jun Badelic as a reinforcement for primary stopper Roland Muller along with Ronilo Bayan Jr. and with the addition of Bosnian forward Mahir Karic after the club’s Champions League demise, Ceres-Negros will most likely be back with something to prove to their fans: That their drive to achieve further success has not diminished.
A now loaded squad with the likes of Stephan Schrock, Bienvenido Maranon, and Alvaro Silva – to name a few – come February 26 at 7:30PM, we will see if the 2017 ASEAN Zone champions can build their momentum once again for another stellar campaign this 2019.
The lions’ hunger: Kaya FC Iloilo
With an absence of two years after their competition debut last 2016 (where they reached the round of 16), The Lions of Kaya FC once again are raring to go back in action in the continental stage after winning the 2018 Copa Paulino Alcantara (the league cup).
The addition of defender Simone Rota and versatile forward Darryl Roberts, along with the likes of established key talents like Jovin Bedic, Jordan Mintah and Alfred Osei, the Iloilo-based outfit will aim to once again announce that they belong in the international club tournament as league cup champions in their country.
Come the 27th of February, they will face their first big challenge against Lao Toyota in an away fixture at 7:30PM in the National Stadium in Vientianne, Laos.
It is not yet confirmed if there has already been a formal unveiling of this acquisition on the part of UiTM, but according to Kaya FC head coach, Noel Marcaida, as far as the Iloilo club is concerned, the player is already signed to the Malaysian club.
UiTM are about to begin their 2019 campaign in an away fixture on February 1, 2019 against Persatuan Bolasepak Polis Di-Raja Malaysia (Royal Malaysia Police Football Association or PDRM in short).
Robert Lopez Mendy had a stellar 2018 season by scoring more than 20 goals in all competitions for a total of 51 career goals for the club and helping Kaya FC Iloilo win the Copa Paulino Alcantara en-route to AFC Cup 2019 qualification.
Copa Paulino Alcantara champions, Kaya FC Iloilo, are set to be decked out with Adidas in the upcoming 2019 season.
In his Instagram post, goalkeeping coach Ref Cuaresma is already donning the training kit by the German brand. And although the home and away designs are yet to be unveiled, at least we see a glimpse of what’s in store in terms of the club’s new look ahead of the campaign kick-off.
Adidas has been a well-known and established brand when it comes to football not just on the pitch, but even off it – especially if it pertains to the sport’s fan and terrace culture.
Definitely passionate Kaya faithfuls have something to look forward to off-pitch as they anticipate getting their hands on their beloved club’s merchandise, or better yet… “clobber”.
Kaya FC Iloilo are set to begin their preseason preparations on January 24 in a friendly against Malaysia Premier League club Sabah FA to be followed by another friendly match against domestic rivals and defending league champions, Ceres-Negros on January 29.
The Iloilo-based club begin the season by competing in the AFC Cup as they face Lao Toyota on February 27.
On the domestic front, Kaya FC Iloilo are set to compete in the newly branded league, the Philippine Premier League, which is set to begin on March.
With the Philippine Azkals’ AFC Asian Cup participation coming to a close, the offseason cycle of player transactions come into full throttle starting with Ceres Negros confirming their new players ahead of the 2019 Philippine Premier League and AFC seasons.
Four players who will provide the much needed reinforcements in key areas of the pitch are Miguel Tanton, Dennis Villanueva, Dylan De Bruycker and Angelo Marasigan. The information has just been made official by the Bacolod-based club via its social media posts in the morning of January 21, 2019.
Miguel Tanton, a defensive midfielder who can crank it up on the offensive end if needed as a playmaker and set-piece taker, joins the Busmen from Kaya FC Iloilo. His addition could be a major coup, maybe even the biggest this year, for the Panaad fortress due to his proven leadership qualities [he has been Kaya’s captain] and commanding presence as a combative player.
Dennis Villanueva, who plays in defence as of late, but is also a capable midfielder joins from recently Davao Aguilas. His footballing background is considered as on of his biggest strengths as he was honed in the Italian footballing system with SS Lazio’s youth team and playing league football in Italy before getting playing stints locally with Global Cebu and Davao Aguilas.
Angelo Marasigan, meanwhile, joins in from Global Cebu and is a player who can take multiple roles from the right flank but mainly as a winger. The 26-year-old comes in the squad as a possible reinforcement in the right flank with star right winger Patrick Reichelt already with Malaysian Super League club Melaka United.
As for the most promising acquisition for this year, it’s most probably Dylan De Bruycker who arrives, along with Dennis Villanueva, from Davao Aguilas. The 21-year-old midfield talent has been a part of the Azkals’ junior program since mid-2017 and has developed his football skills with Club Brugge’s youth setup in Belgium. With his playmaking ability, whether in the middle of the park or the right flank, he can fill the void left by Patrick Reichelt and ahead of the inevitable move of central midfielder Manuel Ott out of Ceres [initial rumors – yet to be confirmed – point that he is set to join fellow Azkal Amin Nazari with Thai League 1 club Ratchaburi Mitr Phol].
Ceres-Negros are scheduled to have a preseason friendly with Kaya FC Iloilo on January 29, 2019 in Taguig before formally kicking off their season with an AFC Champions League preliminary qualifiers fixture against Yangon United on February 5, 2019 to be held in Panaad Park and Stadium.