Originally published by PFL
UNDEFEATED United City FC would not be denied, picking up the pace and pressure in the second half to demolish Stallion-Laguna FC 7-1 Friday night and wrap up the Philippines Football League title at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
From a slim 2-1 halftime edge, UCFC settled the issue by racking up five goals in the last 45 minutes on the way to increasing its tally to 12 points.
With Kaya FC Iloilo held to another draw this time by Mendiola earlier in the day, United City actually entered the match needing a victory to clinch the title with a game to spare. UCFC will still meet Kaya on Monday in the two clubs’ final match of the season
Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon got his second hat-trick of the tournament, scoring in 58th, 66th and 74th minutes, midfielder Mike Ott secured a brace (4th and 54th) and Takashi Odawara and OJ Porteria grabbed a goal each in the rout.
UCFC conceded its first goal in four matches as Stallion-Laguna’s Senegal striker Ibrahim N’dour scored the team’s solitary goal in the 11th minute.
It was the second loss against one draw for the players of coach Ernie Nierras, whose side looked like giving UCFC a run for its money only to collapse under the weight of the intense offensive onslaught of the pre-tournament favorites in the second half.
“Noon malaman nag-draw yong Kaya sinabi namin that we’re going to seal this (win against Stallion),” said UCFC coach Frank Muescan. “Our main objective was to really win this game at all cost.”
Muescan said having worked with Ceres in the past helped him settle in the club even after the hiring of Trevor Morgan who could not make it due to travel restrictions.
“Ang kagandahan is that I’ve been with them for the last four years. They know me and accepted me so the respect was swift,” Muescan pointed out.
Maranon was pleased for being the clubs top striker again and thanked the club’s new management for retaining his services to sustain the Ceres-Negros FC legacy.
“It is good that even if we changed management we are still the best team in the Philippines and we showed it again today,” he said, adding that sealing a spot in the AFC Champions League for being the newly-crowned PFL champion was icing on the cake.
“Now we will have a chance in playing strong clubs from China, Japan, Korea which we all look forward to,” next year.