MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion Ceres-La Salle of host Negros Occidental Football Association and Global FC of Leyte FA hammered out victories to seize the solo lead in their respective groups in the PFF-Smart National Club Championship in two separate venues in Bacolod and Bago City.
The back-to-back title-seeking Ceres booters needed just a three-goal first half and a solid defense in the second to beat Cavite FA’s Flame United Cherifer FC, 3-0, at the St. La Salle-Bacolod Gym and grab the solo lead in Group B with two victories.
Global, a United Football League powerhouse, dominated a listless Palawan FA, 11-0, as Fil-Brit Mark Hartmann struck for five goals and Fil-Spanish Angel Guirado scored three as the Global booters took charge in Group A at the Bago City Sports Complex.
After Joshua Beloya opened up the scoring right on the fourth minute and Cavite’s Cristituto’s own goal on the 13th, Jayson Panhay delivered on the 28th to give the host team a three-goal cushion that it held by holding the fort on the other end.
It was Panhay’s third goal and Beloya’s second after the duo combined for three in a 7-0 demolition of Bukidnon FA’s Del Monte FC the day before.
A day after unleashing a four-goal haul in an 8-1 thrashing of Baguio FA’s Benguet State U, Hartmann went on an attack mode again, scoring Global’s first four goals that Guirado followed with two straight to steer the team to a 6-0 lead at halftime.
Then Guirado opened up the second half with another goal and after Aaron Altiche followed it up with a rocket himself, Hartmann completed his spectacular day with a fifth goal that took the fight out of Palawan.
Super subs Izzeldin Elhabib of Sudan and Fil-German Jeffrey Christaiens accounted for Global’s other goals.
BSU bounced back from its harrowing opening day loss by crushing Davao FA’s Columbia FC, 4-0.
Del Monte FC likewise bounced back from a poor start by Naga-Camsur FA’s CBSUA FC, 6-3, on the strength of Jan Philipp Dalaota’s hat-trick.
Ahead by just a goal, 3-2, after the first half, Dalaota, Ade John Bordeos, who wound up with a double, and Michael Barola delivered the crushing blows to put down CBSUA, which was led by Jim Oliver’s brace.
At the end of the day, Global and Ceres paced their respective brackets with six match points apiece while Del Monte and BSU got on board at second with three match points apiece in this event bankrolled by Smart and sanctioned by the Phl Football Federation.