After a hard fought final against a tenacious Pasargad FC, Negros based Ceres La Salle FC clinched the PFF-SMART National Men's Club Championship with a 1-0 victory. The victory of the club from Sugarlandia was made all the more sweeter given the caliber of opponents it had to dispatch on its way to bringing the cup to Negros island.
UFL Division 1 powerhouses Stallions, Global and Kaya were dispatched by Ceres enroute to the final against Pasargad. Credit should also go to Pasargad FC, who despite missing four key players in the finals still gave Ceres a really hard time. No excuses from Pasargad, who went out and gave Ceres a proper challenge for the title. Given its showing in this tournament, Pasargad is surely a team to watch out for in the UFL this season.
In a news article, Ceres coach Ali Rojas Go was quoted as saying "You can win one with luck, but two, three, and four, I don’t think so. It’s all hard work.” That's right; it was very much hard work on the part of Ceres that led to their success, one that was richly deserved and unquestionable. Ceres-Negros FC right now is without doubt and certifiably thebest football club in the country.
Those were all difficult matches against highly accomplished teams. Their defense needed to be steady and sure, and the offense clinical. As Coach Ali Go said, they worked really hard at it, but most of all, they believed. They believed in themselves and in one another. That they almost swept up all the individual awards (Chieffy Caligdong won the Golden Boot) showed that this was indeed a team effort. Each player supporting each other in a common effort towards a common goal.
|Photo via Ceres-Negros FC FB page|
In addition to the players and the coaching staff, the other key factor in the success of Ceres FC is the overwhelming support from its management, as personified by the Yanson brothers. The significance of the support of the Yanson brothers is something that must not be overlooked. The brothers not only support the team, they are also responsible in building foundations and institutional support for the growth and competitiveness of football in Negros. This competitive atmosphere developed by the Yanson brothers and their partners in this endeavor has been crucial in ensuring that a team from Negros can go head to head and overcome the big boys of Philippine club football, particularly the heavy hitters in the UFL.
Special mention also goes out to the Ceres supporters who were at Rizal. For a team based in the province, one had to appreciate the numbers and the spirit displayed by its support in Rizal Stadium. Advertisers, marketing people, sponsors, take note.
It is therefore heartening to note that Ceres FC is contemplating to join the UFL. In the same news article, Coach Ali Go mentions that there is a plan to join the UFL and the soonest could possibly be the UFL Cup in the latter part of this year. However, he cautions that they need to study this carefully as there are certain challenges that need to be considered, such as logistics.
This prudence is a good sign. While the entry of Ceres FC into the UFL would be a big boost for the league and support its growth, all parties must also ensure that such growth is sustainable in the long term. In much the same way the Football Alliance has carefully nurtured the growth and steady success of the UFL, Ceres FC will likewise ensure that when it throws its hat into the UFL and carry the flag for Negrense football fans, it will be there for the long term.
In the meantime, let's savor and enjoy this achievement of Ceres FC.
Ceres-Negros FC - 2013 National Men's Football Club Champions! Sounds sweet doesn't it?
05 February 2013, Moira G Gallaga©