By Ivan Gayares (@ivangeoffrey)
Newcomer Bienvenido Marañon scored a brilliant hat trick as Ceres-La Salle FC came from a goal down to demolish Loyola-Meralco Sparks 6-1. National Player Patrick Reichelt scored a brace while substitute Jeffrey Christaens completed the tally for Ceres.
Loyola started the game with intensity which was highlighted by the 18th minute foal from new signing Bradley Grayson. The Meralco backed-squad was rewarded for their early pressure when Grayson broke free from the defense to put up a shot which was tapped by Ceres Keeper Louis Michael Casas but eventually went in.
It wasn’t long after when Ceres’ Reichelt found himself in a similar situation in the 25th minute. The Azkals mainstay shot was tapped by Loyola’s Tomas Trigo but the ball still found its way to the bottom corner for the equalizer.
A handball in front of the goal in the 26th minute forced referee Linjun Talaver to call for a penalty against the Sparks which Marañon cooly converted for his first goal and the Ceres lead.
The Spanish player doubled his output in the dying minutes of the first half when he scored from the narrowest of angles to make it 3-1 for the Bacolod squad. The Loyola keeper expected a Marañon cross from the goal line but was surprised by a strike which went between him and the first post.
Twelve minutes after halftime, Reichelt broke away from the Sparks defense after a Marañon delivery to score the fourth goal for Ceres. Loyola also had their chances but the resolute Ceres backline and the timely saves of Casas prevented them from getting another goal.
Marañon completed his hat trick in the 71st minute. He also added in assist the the 85th when he cut back a goal-line cross to an onrushing Christaens who completed the demolition of Loyola with their sixth goal.
The 29-year old spanish player who last played for UD Socuellamos in Segunda B – Group 2, the third tier football league in Spain, proved that he was a game changer and a great signing for the USLS-affiliated squad.
It was an emphatic win for the Bacolod squad who were a bit rusty early in the game after to a month long layoff. The win cements their lead temporarily to six points from number two team Stallion FC who still has a game in hand against Global.
Loyola will play Team Socceroo while Ceres will lock horns with the Pachanga for a midweek clash on June 23.
In the first game, Green Archers United outplayed Pachanga Diliman 9-5 in the highest ever goal output for a first division game this year. Robert Lopez Mendy topscored for the Archers who are
The second half of league play was shortened due to the pullout of Philippine Army FC from which effectively ends the relegation battle between Army and Socceroo.