By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
Bacolod-based and multi-titled Ceres-La Salle FC is expected to be one of the star-studded and toughest clubs in the First Division when the United Football League’s (UFL) season kicks off later this year.
This, after the UFL Division 2 champion and back-to-back PFF-Smart Club Men’s Championship titlist has reportedly signed up another great player to its roster.
Over the weekend, reports stated that Ceres signed up former Azkals’ midfielder Manuel Gelito “Manny” Ott.
The Fil-German Ott is the fourth signee of the club during the off-season following Fil-Belgian left back Jeffrey Christiaens, Fil-Spanish central defender Juani Guirado, and Spanish Adriano Gallardo.
While the 22-year old Ott started his career in Germany with SV Ilmmünster, FSV Pfaffenhofen, and TSV 1860 München before suited up for the FC Ingolstadt II in 2009, however, it was in 2010 when the Fil-German began his international exposure when he was called up to play for the Philippines against Chinese Taipei.
In 2011, he again suited up for the Azkals U23 during the Southeast Asian Games held in Indonesia wherein he was able to play with other Ceres mainstays Joshua Beloya and Christiaens.
With the addition of Ott in the team, Ceres becomes more of an attacking squad with both its first and second teams capable of performing at the same level.
Earlier, Ceres signed up Fil-Spanish defender Guirado.
Guirado first played for the Ceres during the AFC President’s Cup in Bacolod last summer.
The 34-year old Fil-Spanish central defender, who was on-loan at Ceres, displayed great performance – scoring a pair of goals against Rimyongsu SC of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Chinese Taipei’s Tatung FC – most likely to have convinced the club owner to sign him for a 2-year deal starting this season.
Meanwhile, Christiaens and Spanish striker Gallardo were likewise signed up with Ceres side late last month.
On the other hand, late reports also hint of Azkals’ Nate Burkey as another prospect to sign up with Ceres FC.
For head coach Ali Go, the club’s build-up is part of the team’s rigid preparation for a tough competition ahead in this UFL season.
With the recent fast paced changes in the Ceres roster, it also raised many eyebrows from league followers.
But Go reiterated that Ceres has its system and acquiring players is based on the team’s requirement – right player at the right position.
Ceres FC is yet to formally present the newly acquired players as well as the entire roster seeing action in the upcoming UFL tournament./