Sweeping the qualifying round and getting past Iloilo in the semifinals with a 2-0 win yesterday, NOFA Ceres-La Salle is on the brink of clinching the 2013 PFF Suzuki Men’s National U23 title in Dumaguete City.
Standing on its path is Davao FA, who brought in a couple of reinforcements from Manila for tomorrow’s championship match at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Stadium. Davao advanced to the final round by beating North Cotabato, 1-0, in the semis.
“We came prepared for this tournament and we are ready for Davao. We played against them in our bracket and we are familiar with their system,” Ceres coach Ali Go said.
The team he said will be doubling their efforts as Davao has brought in a couple of players from Manila to beef up their lineup.
One of the reinforcements, Go said, is Amani Aguinaldo, a known defender from Far Eastern University and was a member of the national U21 team.
In their previous encounter in the qualifying round, Ceres beat Davao, 5-0.
Ceres will be playing for the championship minus J Baguioro, who was charged with his second yellow card in yesterday’s match against Iloilo.
While Baguioro is definitely a great loss in the final battle, Go said they will the necessary adjustment as there are players in the Ceres lineup who are ready to fill the post.
NOFA Ceres eliminate Iloilo yesterday despite a frustrating performance in the first half.
“It was a disappointing first half as the team played very bad. There were several close attempts that were not completed,” Go said.
Still, Ceres-La Salle prevailed as Jimuel Ariola scored a headed cross in the 50th minute and Joshua Beloya neatly sending a bender near the penalty area into the goal in the 70th minute.
Ceres started yesterday with Benito Rosalia, Jimmy Malalo-an, Anthony Tongson, Rey Mark Fernandez, Ian Agraviador, Baguioro, Joel Bedia, Prince Antony, Beloya, Jinggoy Valmayor, Ariola, and John Bolo.*NAB
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