Celebrating with Ceres

first_imgRobredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next More than the resources he has poured into the club, Yanson kept the door open for Stephan Schrock to return to Ceres after a loan spell last season. Schrock repaid his faith with a performance for the ages in the second leg of the finals.The Filipino international’s work rate and vision sparked the Busmen to life, while goals from OJ Porteria and Manny Ott ensured they got the result. Porteria endured a difficult start to his career at Ceres, before the club owner went out of his way to advise him not to do “too much.” That talk allowed Porteria to settle nicely into the club, and the Busmen are slowly reaping the benefits of his rejuvenated play.The tactical acumen of Serbian coach Risto Vidakovic was also evident in the zonal finals as he deployed Schrock in midfield in lieu of the hobbling Bienve Marañon. Schrock wreaked havoc and the Busmen could have won convincingly if not for a slew of missed chances in the first half.Captains Martin Steuble and Carlie de Murga have been critical to the club’s success the past few years. And so is Ott, whose delightful free kick left Home goalkeeper Hassan Sunny no chance.“The players gave everything,” says Vidakovic. “It wasn’t easy when you miss so many chances because when that happens, you usually lose. But whoever came on gave their all for the club.”ADVERTISEMENT The Panaad crowd has served as a sanctuary for the Busmen in the continental competition. They remain unbeaten in the AFC Cup at home. “We knew that our strength is at home,” says Ott. “Everybody had a clear focus for the game. Everybody still believed and the team showed strong character.”Schrock says he can’t help but be overwhelmed by the support that the club gets at home. “When you see the crowd here, you just want to give everything because you know how much this means to them,” says the former Bundesliga player who rejoined the team last April.Schrock recalls teammates breaking down in tears at the final whistle. “After the match, players were crying on the pitch because we left it all out there, the heart and the sweat. We put in the performance of our life in this final,” he says. “We have very good support here and we’re very proud to represent this city.”It’s still a long road ahead for Ceres Negros in the AFC Cup with Istiklol standing in its way in the interzone semifinals and North Korean club 4.25 and Bengaluru of India also in the hunt. The West Asia winner, which gets an outright finals spot, is also yet to be known.With performances like this against Home United, it was difficult to bet against the Busmen in their chase for continental glory. Perhaps only then can Yanson truly celebrate the greatness of his own creation. “We had set goals at the start of the season, but it’s still difficult to react when you’re in the moment,” says Yanson. “All we know is that everyone involved in the club worked so hard to reach our goals and give honor to the province and to the country.”The run to the Asean zonal championship wasn’t just historic, but also impressive for the Busmen, who scored 23 goals from 10 matches.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingIn clinching the Asean title on aggregate, 3-2, the Busmen whitewashed Home United, 2-0, in the second leg at Panaad to nullify the Singaporeans’ 2-1 win in the first leg in the Lion City.Yanson shuns the spotlight and rarely takes credit. But it was difficult to overlook his influence as the Busmen took the competition by storm. Ceres methodically broke down and outworked the visitors in the first half, before standing its ground to preserve the clean sheet in the final 45 minutes. 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Ceres Negros players and officials savor the moment after besting Home United, 3-2, on aggregate and clinching the AFC Asean Zone club title at Panaad Stadium.The man wearing the black sport shirt with the club’s yellow crest patched on his chest sat at the edge of the media tribune looking stoic as the seconds of second-half injury time ticked away.As the crowd at the jampacked Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City prepared to celebrate Ceres Negros’ historic AFC Cup Asean zone finals victory over Singapore’s Home United, club owner Leorey Yanson hardly showed any emotion. He tried to let the moment sink in, wrapping his head around the idea that the club he built five years ago was on the cusp of becoming the best team in the Southeast Asian region in the AFC Cup.ADVERTISEMENT Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul University athletes begin medal quest; Jins among PH’s top hopes LATEST STORIESlast_img

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