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Ceres-Negros, Than Quang Ninh share spoils in four-goal draw

A heated encounter between Philippine champions Ceres-Negros FC and Vietnamese side Than Quang Ninh FC ended in a battling 2-2 draw in the AFC Cup 2020 Group G match held in Rizal Stadium last February 25.

In the early proceedings, the match exhibited a stop-start pace as both sides tried to weigh each other, exhibiting physicality, with some fouls committed on both ends.

But at the seventh minute, the hosts showed signs with regards to their capabilities on the attack, particularly on the wing play at the right flank with OJ Porteria and Robert Lopez Mendy almost connecting.

A good run of spell in possession followed for Ceres-Negros as they were able to dictate the proceedings in the moments that followed.

At the 14th minute, Than Quang Ninh had a decent chance though to score the breakthrough off a corner kick, but the headed attempt just flew wide of the near post as it remained a stalemate after the first quarter of an hour.

Despite the threat, the busmen were able to regain their bearings as they dictated once again the match with a promising chance arriving in the 24th minute as Stephan Schrock produced a teasing low pass across the opposition’s goalmouth only for the ball to marginally avoid the lurking forwards, Bienvenido Maranon and Lopez Mendy.

However that chance proved to be something that they would immediately rue as the Vietnamese side found themselves in front in the 26th minute after capitalizing on a defensive error with forward Jermie Lynch guiding the ball with such precision to find the back of the net.

Ceres immediately tried to respond with two consecutive chances from headers, but the equalizer proved elusive with half an hour gone.

Six minutes later, Manuel Ott tried a speculative effort, but his attempt to pull off something spectacular came to naught as the shot missed the target.

However a late first-half drama ensued. As the hosts desperately tried to claw their way and come up with an equalizing goal, Bienvenido Maranon was fouled inside the box promoting Malaysian referee Mohd Amirul Rizwan to point to the spot.

The aggrieved Maranon, duly took the penalty with such audacity, converting a chipped effort to put the tie well in the balance, as both sides head into the break sharing a goal each.

After the restart, both sides went off the blocks by employing high pressure on both ends, trying to catch the opposition on the counter.

Nine minutes into the second half, after a well-worked passing play, Bienve Maranon found himself in a position to unleash and put Ceres ahead, but his lobbed effort went over the bar.

A similar situation faced Robert Lopez Mendy a few moments after but also his attempt went sky high.

In the 61st minute, after an excellent play initiated by Porteria that found Maranon, the ball eventually found Manuel Ott without opposition but his shot hit the bar.

That miss will not be much of a concern for the busmen in the next minute though, as Porteria eventually gave his side the lead, firing low from an angle that beat Than Quang Ninh keeper, Huyn Tuan Linh to send the stadium into raptures.

With the onus now on the visiting side to come up with a leveller, the hero miners eventually got what they were searching for in the 70th minute after a mix-up inside Ceres-Negros’ box gave midfielder Nguyen Hai Huy enough window for an opportunistic strike that caught Ceres keeper Roland Muller stranded and hushing the Rizal Memorial crowd into stunned silence.

Six minutes later another and the Vietnamese side produced another scare for the Philippine champions as another shot from range unleashed just scraped outside Muller’s left post, escaping what could definitely be a complicated deficit.

As both clubs searched for the wining goal, eventually the tie ended in a draw as both sides split points in Group G.

Ceres-Negros will next face Indonesian champions Bali United on March 11 in Rizal Stadium in what could be considered as the busmen’s biggest test yet in the early phase of this year’s continental tournament.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

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AFC Cup 2020 Boot Spotting: Ceres and Kaya goal scorers in Group Stage Rd 1

With the first round of AFC Cup 2020 group stage action in the books, and Filipino clubs Ceres-Negros FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo beginning their respective campaigns on the right track, here the goal scorers and the boots they wear.

Bienvenido Marañon (FW, Ceres-Negros FC: 2 GOALS)

Ceres-Negros’ prolific Spanish forward, Bienve Marañon, scored a brace in the opener against Cambodian champions Svay Rieng FC, putting him jointly on top of the goal-scoring chart.

If this form can be maintained, the AFC Cup 2019 top scorer is poised for another productive season in the continental stage!

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

Bienvenido Marañon’s boots: Nike Tiempo 8 Legend Elite

Takashi Odawara (MF/DF, Ceres-Negros FC: 1 GOAL)

A wise mid-season acquisition by the busmen last season, Japanese versatile defensive midfielder Takashi Odawara possesses a potent striking ability despite his mainly defensive duties as demonstrated by his goal against Svay Rieng near the edge of the box.

Although a regular haul is not expected from Odawara, it won’t come as a surprise if he could be an occasional option in attack and convert a few in crucial situations.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

Takashi Odawara’s boots: adidas X 18.1

Joshua Grommen (DF, Ceres-Negros FC: 1 GOAL)

After a two-year stint overseas, Josh Grommen made a homecoming to Ceres-Negros for the 2020 season. And in just his third appearance for the club this year (his second as a starter), Grommen opened his account in the AFC Cup against Svay Rieng.

Although replays show that the 23-year old enforcer may have used his hand in converting the chance fed by team captain Stephan Schröck, the goal stood eventually generating a momentary buzz in the footballing world as another “Hand of God” has been scored.

Josh Grommen’s boots: adidas Copa Gloro 19

Jovin Bedic (FW, Kaya FC-Iloilo: 1 GOAL)

Kaya FC-Iloilo skipper Jovin Bedic was clutch, converting what eventually has been a pivotal second half penalty kick for his club in a tough AFC Cup away opener against Burmese champions Shan United.

With the game finely on the balance, a momentary lapse on the part of the hosts tipped the scales in favor of the Filipino side when substitute Arnel Amita was fouled inside the box. Jovin Bedic stepped up to the occasion as he kept himself cool, calm and collected to convert from the spot without a hint of a doubt that served as the pivotal icebreaker.

Photo credit: AFC Cup

Jovin Bedic’s boots: Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite

Eric Giganto (FW/MF, Kaya FC-Iloilo: 1 GOAL)

One of Kaya FC’s ever-dependable players the past few seasons, Eric Giganto once again demonstrated his importance to the team when he scored a late goal off a feed from Arnel Amita to put his club two-goals up against Shan United and erase all doubts in the tie.

Giganto’s knack for scoring late goals, particularly as a substitute, makes him virtually the club’s super-sub, and his jugular against Shan United further strengthened such case.

Photo credit: Kaya FC-Iloilo

Eric Giganto’s boots: Mizuno Morelia Neo

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Ceres-Negros dominate in AFC Cup 2020 opener

Ceres-Negros FC put up a convincing team performance en-route to a 4-0 win against Cambodian champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC in the AFC Cup 2020 group stage opener last February 11, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Visitors Svay Rieng employed a high tempo from the get-go forcing Ceres-Negros to match the same intensity. The end-to-end dynamics provided Robert Lopez Mendy with an opportunity to test the opposing goalkeeper unleashing from distance in the fourth minute, only to miss the target.

In the eighth minute, Lopez Mendy once again was given a chance this time in a much better position to shoot inside the box but his attempt was so wayward.

Right in the 13th minute, Ceres-Negros finally got the breakthrough with Takashi Odawara’s low shot from the edge of the box finding the back of the net near the far post to put the hosts in front well within the first quarter of an hour.

A minute later and it was two goals up for the busmen as another goal was scored with Josh Grommen slotting in Stephan Schrock’s delivery to put the hosts at a much better situation.

Ceres-Negros were a bit on the upper-hand for the most part until the 22nd minute when a penalty was called against the hosts as Josh Grommen has been adjudged to have committed an infraction inside the box. However, Svay Rieng failed to capitalize from the spot as Ceres keeper Roland Muller produced a fine save to deny Thiago Dos Santos and maintain the two-goal difference.

Despite the bright start for the Filipino side, Cambodian champions Svay Rieng continued to be dangerous with their pacy approach to the game, especially on the counterattack.

But the early goals proved enough as the first half concluded with the busmen firmly in control heading into the break.

Ten minutes after the restart, Ceres-Negros once again found the back of the net for the third time after a slick linkup play found Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon at an angle who was still able to squeeze the ball past goalkeeper Aim Sovannarath.

Around the hour mark and the moments after, Svay Rieng had some good spells on their own, but with the half-chances presented to them, coach Risto Vidakovic’s men were equal to those as the breakthrough was hard to come by for the visitors.

At the stroke of the 70th minute, Maranon once again found the back of the net after a well-worked effort from OJ Porteria to carve the opening and lay-off a pass for his teammate to convert and put the tie virtually out of reach for the visitors.

Ceres-Negros will next face Vietnamese club Thanh Quang Ninh at Rizal Memorial Stadium on February 25, at 7:30 PM.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

ACL2020: FC Tokyo proved too big a hurdle for Ceres-Negros

Philippine champions Ceres-Negros fell short against hosts FC Tokyo as the AFC Champions League playoff match concluded 2-0 in favor of the Japanese side held in rain-soaked Ajinomoto Stadium last January 28.

The match began with both teams struggling to come up with decent play due to a waterlogged pitch. But FC Tokyo have been provided a promising opportunity with a free kick with skipper Keigo Higashi producing a teasing delivery but the ensuing header flew out of target.

In the 15th minute, FC Tokyo had a golden opportunity to get a goal with Higashi unleashing a goal-bound effort from inside the box, but Roland Muller pulled off a brilliant save with his leg to deny what could have been the breakthrough.

Come the 20th minute the Japanese outfit had another set-piece with Leandro providing the delivery only for Lebanese defender Joan Oumari to head over the bar.

A tense few moments immediately followed for the Filipino side as the east Asians marauded Ceres’ box, but the opportunities came and left unconverted.

Around the half-hour mark, both teams struggled to settle in their respective styles of play due to the tricky conditions that the water-logged pitch provided.

In the 37th minute, OJ Porteria’s ball-control forced FC Tokyo to commit a foul, but an almost decent effort from Ceres forward Bienvenido Maranon just flew wide of the far post.

Three minutes later, a defensive error by Super Herrera gifted Leandro a gilt-edged opportunity as he saw himself virtually in a one-on-one situation against Roland Muller but the Ceres stopper produced a brilliant double-save as parity was maintained until time expired for the end of the first half.

Three minutes after the restart, hosts FC Tokyo finally put themselves in front as a mix-up found defender Sei Muroya with the ball inside Ceres’ box who latched onto the opportunity with much conviction to beat Muller despite getting a hand on the ball.

Thirteen minutes later, the 2019 J1 runners up could have made it two goals up but Leandro’s strike just inside the D fizzled just wide of the far post as the hosts continued to pile on the pressure having seemingly adjusted already to the appallingly wet condition of the pitch.

True enough, FC Tokyo were able to find the back of the net once again, with Adailton pouncing on a good delivery from the right flank, only for the linesman to signal for offside which was harsh as replays showed a well-executed effort.

After a chipped shot by Adailton in the 72nd minute for FC Tokyo that beat Muller but missed the target, Mark Hartmann was introduced for Ceres in place of Dylan de Bruycker as the hosts were able to further impose themselves in the match.

A moment before the 80th minute, FC Tokyo were down to 10 men as Taichi Hara was given a straight red card for an elbow to Takashi Odawara’s forehead who needed treatment after being wounded from the contact.

Two minutes later, Ceres could have equalized from a set-piece but Super’s looping header was well anticipated by Tokyo’s sentry, Akihiro Hayashi.

In the 87th minute mark, Lopez Mendy saw his header fly wide and off the mark a set-piece. Another set-piece for the Filipino side saw Mendy with another chance to score with substitute James Younghusband on the support but the ball falling unkindly for the chance to pass.

And end-to-end action ensued immediately as what could be a penalty situation for Ceres was waived off with an opportunistic FC Tokyo pulling a quick counter for Adailton to be released, unleashing a crafty long-range strike that spectacularly found the back of the net and put the tie at rest in favor of the J1 side.

The result means FC Tokyo proceed to the group stage of the AFC Champions League, while Ceres-Negros FC will compete in the more familiar AFC Cup competition.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

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OPINION: Ceres-Negros win ACL2020 campaign opener but concerns arise

Ceres-Negros FC pulled off possibly the best start early in its match against Shan United in the AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage, but a close final score showed concerns later in the tie as they head into their next challenge against a possibly much tougher Port FC.

As the Philippine domestic double champions continue their undefeated run and head to Bangkok in a week’s time to face Thailand’s domestic cup winners, here are some points of discussion on the busmen’s strengths and possible weaknesses to address as they bid to go further in their Champions League qualification campaign.

Immense frontline capability

Ceres-Negros showed their attacking might during their match against the Burmese champions as they dominated possession and peppered the visitors with attempts for the most part.

Robert Lopez Mendy, and Bienvenido Marañon got their goals, proving their striking ability for the busmen. With the additional firepower coming from attack-minded players such as Mike Ott and OJ Porteria (who also found the back of the net on top of a man of the match performance), and the creativity provided by Stephan Schröck and Hikaru Minegishi, Ceres were able to supply a sustained level of attacking verve and options that proved crucial in registering the goals they needed to get the required result.

Add to the fact that several options in attack and midfield ended up unused during the tie with the likes of creative midfielder Dylan de Bruycker and highly rated forward Mark Hartmann not seeing action in the fixture, shows that head coach Risto Vidakovic still has something up his sleeves heading into their next challenge in Thailand.

Seamless defense to attack transition

The busmen also demonstrated their signature knack for utilizing the ball well in a sense that building attacking plays from the defensive line seems to be fluid which gives significant credit to the defenders who are comfortable with the ball, and a very capable anchor provided by defensive midfielder Takashi Odawara.

Ceres’ ability to keep and distribute the ball well upfield from the backline is a testament to the club’s utilization of the midfield as an effective channel in helping create opportunities for the frontline.

Bannered by the leadership of veteran midfielder and captain Stephan Schröck who could operate as a “free radical” in the middle of the park with the role as one of the main catalysts on the offensive end, Ceres’ midfield definitely is its main power source that drives the entire black and yellow juggernaut forward.

Worrisome finishing

Obviously the first major concern shown by the busmen was their finishing, which leaves much to be desired. For the duration of the match, particularly in the first half, Ceres-Negros spurned some good chances that could have put them at least with a five goal-advantage and may have put the tie to end early, even if Shan United were able to register a few goals later on.

However, because of the wasted efforts, Ceres, can only maintain a two-goal lead in the match, making the business end of the clash against Shan United very much tense and in the balance when the visiting side were able to convert a second goal for a thrilling 3-2 finish with the hosts just doing enough to hold on for the win.

First-game jitters and rustiness may have come into play for Ceres’ forwards, understandably so in this situation, but with the icebreaking match already done, the need to be sharper is definitely paramount heading into their away match against a possibly tougher proposition against Thai FA Cup champions Port FC in less than a week’s time.

An unsettled defense

In the second half, Shan United were given hope when on several occasions, the Ceres-Negros backline was caught flat-footed, eventually leading to two goals by the Burmese champions that contributed for a nervy finish to the fixture.

With Carlie De Murga’s departure, the onus is on the remaining defenders and the newcomers to sync-in with each other and establish a reliable defense.

Super Herrera also seemed to have suffered a knock during the match that contributed to more lethargic marking, and if Super will not be 100 percent come the next match, it could be a main concern for coach Risto Vidakovic to maintain an effective line of defense.

Lack of match-fitness

Lastly it was obvious that the busmen came up short in sustaining the needed intensity from kickoff to the final whistle.

As the second half wore on, so did Ceres-Negros’ form. Such a dip in the busmen’s performance gave Shan United the opportunity to pounce on the slack they saw with the Burmese club’s pacy forwards, particularly Liberian Keith Nah, who marauded the host team’s flanks in the last throes of the match.

Such lack of fitness (which the coaching staff is probably anticipating already) is something that the team should be focused on heading into their match against Port FC in Thailand. Even though the Thai FA Cup champions may also have the same predicament having only a friendly match against Police Tero the past few days with the domestic league in Thailand yet to begin until February, it would be important for the Philippine champions to address this matter, easier said than done though, due to the domestic season is yet to begin in two months time.

Photo credit: Glen Charles Lopez / Ceres-Negros FC

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AFC Cup TOP HITMAN: Ceres-Negros’ Bienvenido Marañon

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.

Virtually Unstoppable

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.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

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After ‘Invincible’ league campaign, Ceres players hint at winning double

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

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Invincibles: 2019 champions Ceres-Negros achieve undefeated PFL season

League champions Ceres-Negros were able to attain what has not been done before in Philippine professional football as they conclude the 2019 domestic campaign without suffering a defeat.

The stellar achievement was confirmed when The Busmen scored three unanswered goals against league runners-up Kaya FC Iloilo with OJ Porteria, Bienvenido Maranon, and James Younghusband finding the back of the net in top two clubs’ final face-off in the league season that was held in Aboitiz Pitch Lipa last October 19.

The match was built up to be champions Ceres-Negros final hurdle towards an undefeated season, while runners-up Kaya are being billed as the last team with the chance to tarnish the three-time champions’ campaign by inflicting their only defeat.

The first half unfolded with both clubs presented with some promising chances, but 45 minutes have passed with both sides heading to their respective dugouts empty-handed with a goalless stalemate.

However, come the second half, Ceres-Negros were able to turn-up the proceedings a notch higher. Eventually The Busmen were rewarded as OJ Porteria broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute with a header off captain Stephan Schrock’s assist.

A sort of late collapse by Kaya unfolded late in the match as Bienvenido Maranon doubled Ceres’ lead in the 90th minute followed by a third by substitute James Younghusband as the memorable evening and the floodlights smiled in favor of the Bacolod-based side achieving an undefeated season.

The almost year-long domestic front does not end though with the league championship as Ceres Head Coach Risto Vidakovic’s men have another chance to further achieve an unprecedented milestone if they can win the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara which will begin soon.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

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PFL 2019: Battles still up for grabs after Ceres 3-peat

Ceres Negros have just clinched their third straight Philippines Football League (PFL) title after getting a 3-1 win against Green Archers United last October 12, further stamping their dominance in the country’s top flight.

Although the race for the championship is already done and dusted after Ceres’ Angelo Marasigan and Bienvenido Maranon cancelled a John Celiz breakthrough goal for Green Archers United, here are still some of the things to look forward to for the remainder of the PFL 2019 season.

WILL CERES CONCLUDE THE LEAGUE CAMPAIGN AS INVINCIBLES?

The champions-elect no doubt had, for the third straight time, been in ruthless form as they set their hands on the league trophy without suffering a loss.

However, with the reward already in the bag and still a few matches left, can the Busmen sustain the momentum in avoiding a defeat and achieve the unprecedented invincible tag?

It seems very possible feat to achieve given the quality of the Bacolod-based club, but it will depend on Coach Risto Vidakovic’s approach and his wards’ hunger to reach an even greater milestone in this already successful season if they will continue stepping on the gas pedal until the last whistle of their final match.

And, if ever Ceres-Negros do fail to get a point in any of their remaining fixtures, which team (or teams) between Global, Mendiola or Kaya will earn the distinction of defeating the three-time champions this season?

Now, that is something to set one’s sights.

WHO WILL END UP AS LEAGUE TOP SCORER?

As of the moment, Kaya FC Iloilo target-man Jordan Mintah is in the driver’s seat the league’s best scorer for the season with 32 goals, but not far behind is Ceres-Negros hotshot Bienvenido Maranon with 27 conversions.

Both forwards are in rich vein of form respectively, converting chances presented to them into precious goals almost at will. Maranon though will relish the possibility of getting the individual achievement on top of the team trophy to further stamp Ceres’ stellar campaign while Jordan will definitely try to finish strong after his team missed out once again in stealing the title out of Ceres’ grasps.

A battle for individual honors that shouldn’t be missed is definitely being realized and whatever the outcome, this duel between tried and tested forwards from two of the best clubs in the country in recent times will go down as a memorable one.

WHICH LOCAL PLAYER WILL END UP SCORING THE MOST GOALS?

As of the moment, a three-way battle between Mendiola’s Jim Ashley Flores (9 goals) and Stallion teammates, Jesus Melliza (11 goals) and Fitch Arboleda (9 goals) is happening as they vie for who is going to end up as the best scoring local player.

Stallion may have less matches left in the campaign though compared to Mendiola, but in the end, it all boils down on who can maintain their scoring touch in front of goal.

The feat may prove crucial if taken into a much bigger context, as it may play a role when it comes to future national team call-ups, if any of these players are being shortlisted to be part of in the near future.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

PFL sees century of goals breached as leadership for ‘top hitman’ takes shape

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)
L-R: Arboleda, Bedic, Alquiros, Uzoka, Ariola

Tied at 4th Place: 4 Goals

  • Curt Dizon (Ceres Negros)
  • Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)
  • Stephan Schröck (Ceres Negros)
L-R: Dizon, Schröck, Marvin Angeles

Tied at 3rd Place: 5 Goals

  • Mike Ott (Ceres Negros)
  • John Celiz (Green Archers United)
L-R: Mike Ott, John Celiz

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.

BIGGEST WINNER

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.

Bienvenido Marañon and his Concave shoes

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?

For now, it’s just purely speculation.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League