16 Dec Global Cebu, Ceres Negros Battle for All the Inaugural PFL Championship
It all boils down to one final match to determine the first ever Philippines Football League champions as Global Cebu FC and Ceres Negros FC square off in the PFL Final on Saturday 16 December 2017 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium.
After 112 matches in the Regular Season and four matches in the semifinals, the traditional rivals of Global Cebu and Ceres Negros are now the only teams in the running for the title.
However, their run to the PFL Final did not come easy.
Global Cebu had to rely on their late game heroics to defeat the first-seed FC Meralco Manila, 3-2 on aggregate. The first leg saw Wesley Dos Santos and Hikaru Minegishi find the back of the net for Global, while in the second leg, Rufo Sanchez scored a late equalizer to break Meralco’s hearts.
In the second semifinal tie, Ceres Negros battled a dangerous Kaya FC-Makati side, that almost turned the second leg on its head with a first half equalizer. Fortunately for Ceres, Bienvenido Marañon and Iain Ramsay capped off their progress with a win in front of their home fans.
Global Cebu head coach Akbar Nawas and Ceres Negros assistant coach Ian Treyes bared their thoughts going to the final.
“Our record (against Ceres) are off the table in the final. It will be a different game tomorrow,” said Nawas. “ If you go to the final, everything is out of the window. Tomorrow, whoever is the hungrier team, and the team who wants it more will win it.”
“When we started the season, we only have one goal and that is to win the Philippines Football League,” said Treyes. “Tomorrow, we will see the very best of Philippine football.”
Likewise, the team captains of both teams highlighted the magnitude and the stakes on the line for the match. The PFL champion will earn a spot to the AFC Champions League preliminary round. The runner up will gain a berth to the AFC Cup next season.
“It’s been seven months of playing and training for each match and now we’re excited to play in the final match of the season,” said Global Cebu captain Misagh Bahadoran. “The players are motivated and sees every match they play as a final.”
“We‘re confident for tomorrow’s game,” said Ceres Negros skipper Martin Steuble. “It’s one game, 90 minutes, we just have to do our best, theres no particular preparation for the game, it all boils down to who wants it more.”