Global-Cebu and Ceres-Negros arranged an all-Visayan showdown for the Philippines Football League crown after besting their respective rivals in the second leg of the semifinals Saturday night held in separate venues.
Rufo Sanchez’s goal near extra time allowed fourth seed Global to post a 1-1 draw over top-ranked Meralco-Manila and progress to the final with a 3-2 aggregate victory at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Over at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, Bienvenido Maranon and Iain Ramsay found the back of the net as Ceres downed Kaya-Makati, 2-1, for to earn a 3-1 win on aggregate.
The two clubs which formed a rivalry dating back to its multiple title matches in the National Championship and the United Football League will meet on Saturday in a one-game finale for the right to become the champion of the PFL’s inaugural season.
Global and Ceres are also assured of slots in next year’s AFC Cup, with the league champion getting an opportunity to play for the top-tier AFC Champions League via a series of qualifying matches.
Global was on the brink of seeing its season after conceding a Curt Dizon goal two minutes after the opening whistle. But the Spanish-born Sanchez rose to the occasion with the needed goal that completed the Cebuano side’s upset of a Sparks team that finished the eliminations with the best record.
Meanwhile, Maranon struck the opening goal in the second leg but Kaya made things interesting behind an Antonio Ugarte equalizer right before halftime.
But Ramsay scored in the second half, giving the Busmen the needed cushion and eventually seal their fifth final since beginning to make waves in big-time football competitions in 2013. (Jonas Terrado)