Tomorrow’s match against Ceres Negros at the University of Makati (4pm kickoff) will be quite the affair, as we host the Bacolod powerhouse just three days after they claimed the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN crown. That recent victory made clear to everyone in the region of the immense quality of the Busmen, and of the rapidly growing level of club football in the Philippines. Saturday’s game not only serves as an opportunity to even the season series against a familiar rival, it also provides a chance to compete against one of South East Asia’s finest teams.
Historically, this matchup has been wonderfully entertaining. Both teams employ styles that provides end-to-end action. Each team boasts players of impressive individual skill, and some of the most intricate midfield combinations. Adding to the excitement is the grueling pace at which the match is played.
Negros is currently on a three-game winning streak which includes seven-goal drubbings of Ilocos United and Meralco Manila. Their last Philippines Football League match was a 2-0 win over the Davao Aguilas.
Such is the quality of Ceres, that it’s difficult to pinpoint just a few players of particular concern. They’ve got a plethora of Philippine nationals: Stephan Schrock, Iain Ramsay, Manny Ott, Martin Steuble, and our former player, OJ Porteria. Plus, they’ve got Bienvenido Marañon, who scored a hat-trick against us back in June in Bacolod.
We kicked off the season with a 1-1 draw against Ceres Negros at the University of Makati. We’ve only played them one other time since — a 3-1 loss in Bacolod — a result that didn’t reflect just how close and competitive the match was.
“It’s always hard to play against one of the strongest teams in the Philippines. It’s good for us to play such a strong team. It gives us the mentality and the strength to do well,” said Marwin Angeles, who scored against his former club back in May. “And of course, my brother (Marvin) and I, and the other players who used to play for Ceres (Jalsor Soriano and Jayson Panhay), it’s always a nice emotion to play against your former team. It makes you want to do well and show them we are doing well in Kaya.”
“It’s a very exciting game. Both teams play very good. It’s a game I really enjoy,” said Robert Lopez Mendy, the sole goal scorer against Negros in Bacolod. “It always feels good to score, but we didn’t get the three points so it doesn’t matter. Of course what I’m always looking for in a game is to win, to get the three points.”