Newly-crowned champ Ceres plans to join UFL

AFTER living up to its name, Ceres FC now sets its sight on the biggest stage.

After completing its amazing run by winning the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship at the expense of PSG Saturday night, the Negros Occidental-based squad is mulling of joining the United Football League.

“Being a champion is really good for us, but we’ll strive better. Maybe you’ll see us someday in the UFL,” Ceres manager Ali Go said.

“That’s our target now, probably in the near future.”

The provincial club is named after the family bus company of owners Leorey and Ricky Yanson. Ceres is derived from the Indo-European term `ker’ which means `to grow’ or from the Latin verb `gerere’ which means `to produce.’  

That’s exactly what the team did the past few weeks when it came through with one stunning victory after the other, which it capped with a 1-0 win over PSG to win the Smart Club Championship.

The idea of jumping on the UFL bandwagon seemed a remote possibility when it first played in the national tournament organized by the PFF.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Ceres toppled UFL giants Stallion in the Round of 16, Global in the quarterfinals, and Kaya in the Final Four in what Go referred to as the “toughest draw” of the tournament.

“(Our promise was just to) give everyone a hard fight,” he said. “(But) I believed in the boys. You can win one with luck, but two, three, and four, I don’t think so. It’s all hard work.”

Now, as the best club in the country technically, Ceres bared its plan to take part in the country’s premier football competition.

Go said the soonest Ceres could join the tournament is in the next UFL Cup set within the last quarter of the year.

And if and when plans do push through, he added the team would have to “bulk up” by having more full-time players as most team members are still studying at University of St. La Salle Bacolod.

Another problem the team could encounter is logistics.

“It’s one. It’s very expensive. (So) it’s better home-and-away style,” Go said, adding it would be feasible for Ceres as Bacolod is home to the most fervent football fans and high-standard pitches like the Panaad Stadium.

“That’s the best for us because UFL wants also to broaden its league.”

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