Meralco-Manila assured itself of keeping the top spot for another week while Ceres-Negros prevailed in its first domestic match since being crowned ASEAN zonal champion of the AFC Cup after posting similar 3-2 victories over separate rivals Saturday in the Philippines Football League.
Meralco took a 3-0 lead before hanging on to defeat Stallion-Laguna at the Biñan Football Stadium even as Ceres capped off a memorable week by taking control of Kaya-Makati at the University of Makati Field.
It was the second straight win for Meralco since losing the Younghusband brothers in the transfer window, thus improving to 33 points after 15 matches. The Sparks moved five clear of Global-Cebu, which faced struggling JPV-Marikina at presstime.
Ceres has now compiled 25 points in 11 matches, moving two back of Kaya for third place in the eight-team table. It also made the Busmen keep their happy faces after their landmark win over Singapore’s Home United in the ASEAN zonal finals that put them in the inter-zonal semis of the AFC Cup.
Connor Tacagni had two goals while Taj Minniecon scored one for Meralco to ignite a 3-0 lead, but Stallion gave the visiting squad a scare when Ko Kyung Joon scored in the 75th minute and Fitch Arboleda scoring a late goal before the final whistle.
Over in Makati, Omid Nazari, Arnie Pasinabo and Bienvenido Maranon accounted for all of goals Ceres scored in its road win.
Nazari’s low drive in the 19th opened the scoring for the Busmen before Pasinabo doubled the lead with a curling attempt.
Kaya’s Robert Lopez-Mendy sliced Ceres’ lead in half with a close-range shot, only for Maranon to counter that goal to give the Busmen the needed cushion. (Jonas Terrado)