CERES-LA SALLE shrugged off an early scare from Pachanga-Diliman as it waltzed to a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night to arrange a Football Alliance League Cup finale meeting against Global FC at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The newly promoted side fell behind just seven minutes into the match, but equalized midway through the first half then turned it up a notch in the second half to pull off the win.
Jason Sabio, Manny Ott, and Adrian Gallardo found the back of the net for Ceres, which booked the second championship round ticket opposite Global, which repulsed Loyola Meralco, 2-1, earlier.
“We had to work hard for this and show character. It’s a good lesson for us that nothing comes easy here,” Ceres manager Ali Go said. “We’re very excited for the final.”
Indeed, Ceres, the reigning Division 2 titlist, was put to a test as Pachanga gained the lead Park Yi Young scored on a free kick following a foul drawn by the Korean booter.
But Ceres knotted the count in the 23rd minute when Sabio converted off the rebound after Jayson Panhay’s free kick hit the crossbar.
The real Ceres showed up in the second half where they dominated possession and flashed fluid passing game to score two more goals.
Gallardo headed home the go-ahead goal off a feed from Kim Jin Ho 11 minutes before stoppage time, before Ott fired from the middle off Oladipo Okunaiya seven minutes later to put the outcome beyond doubt.