CERES-NEGROS FC continued its winning run after defeating Philippine Air Force FC, 3-0, last August 17 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa City.
Super, Dylan De Bruycker, and Robert Lopez Mendy all found the back of the net for the Busmen.
The Negros squad piled the pressure early but couldnt find the target in the first ten minutes. Chances from Super, Takashi Odawara, Angelo Marasigan and Bienvenido Maranon were all found begging.
Mike Ott had the best chance in the 12th minute with a header which keeper Mark Mendome swung into the goal but the referees didn’t see much from the play. Super opened the scoring minutes later after he redirected a Maranon free kick to the back of the net.
New signing Joel Okono broke the defensive line in the 24th minute but centerback Joshua Dutosme clipped the striker just outside the box and earned a yellow. Romeo Martinez stepped up and hit a wonderful for kick which hit the face of goal before it was cleared to safety.
It was in the 34th minute when Ceres-Negros doubled the lead when De Bruycker floated the ball to the top corner. The Airmen had a good shot on goal but Ronald Batisla-ong was tamed by Ronilo Bayan.
The Airforce keeper had his own save in the 40th minute which was followed by an Okono strike which went wide. Lopez Mendy drove in dangerously to the Air Force box before his attack was stopped by the defense.
Herrera would head the ball wide in final minute followed by a shot by Odawara on a breakaway that was blocked by a foot save by Mendome. The half would finish with the away squad having the two goal advantage.
The busmen came out strong in the second half with Lopez Mendy’s early chance but his uncontested chip went over the bar. Batisla-ong would have another crack on goal for the Airmen but his attempt was contained by Bayan.
The Busmen were rewarded at the hour mark after Lopez Mendy won the the ball back inside the box before shooting to the bottom corner to make it 3-0. He almost made it a brace five minutes later but his header goes wide.
Coach Risto Vidakovic would make two consecutive changes midway in the half with the return of Dennis Villanueva from injury and a debut of new signing James Younghusband.
Maranon had a good chance fifteen minutes from time with a shot after a series of fakes but Mendome does well for the save. The Spaniard would later on set-up De Bruycker but the young player can only shoot wide.
Ott almost scored in the 79th after he broke the trap but twin saves from the keeper kept the score intact. Substitute Nick Ferrer almost put the Ceres-Negros defensive line in blushes but a superb chase down and tackle from Super secured the clean sheet.
Odawara had the final chance with a shot on target but the ball went straight to the Air Force keeper. The match would finish 3-0 for the Negros squad who secured its 11th straight win.
“Its very hard to motivate the team for these kind of games,” said Coach Vidakovic. “The team played serious until we scored the third (goal) and we stopped a little bit (after that).”
Herrera said he was happy with the team’s performance against PAF.
Herrera came out with a goal and a Man of the match performance for Ceres-Negros in their third straight game in eight days.
The Spaniard also came out with a last minute tackle near the end to keep a clean sheet and maintain the club’s 11th straight win in the Philippines Football League.
“We need to continue to play like that until the end,” said the former Betis man.
“We know Kaya is also like that. They are also winning the same with us having a six point difference so we need to continue and keep our separation from them,” he added.
The centerback is also happy to break his scoring drought with the opening goal against the Airmen.
“I wanted to score for a long time ago already because I didn’t (score) for almost one year,” added the two-time PFL Champ.
Scoring aside, the Seville-native just wants to support the club in its quest for a third league title.
“I’m always happy to help to the team and I will continue to do my best on the pitch,” Herrera added.
Ceres-Negros will next face Mendiola FC on August 21 for their fifth league game this month. The match will also be played at the Aboitiz Pitch. (Ceres Media)