By Jonas Terrado
Ceres-Negros capped off its unbeaten domestic campaign with a rare double after dethroning Kaya-Iloilo 2-1 Saturday night to win the Copa Paulino Alcantara at the Binan Football Stadium in Laguna.
Robert Lopez Mendy broke the ice in the first half, Tristan Robles doubled the lead after the restart before Ceres overcame Kaya’s comeback try late to claim the second edition of the cup competition named after former Barcelona great Paulino Alcantara.
The win also made Ceres the first club to win a double since Global ruled the league and cup competitions of the defunct United Football League in 2016.
Ceres went unbeaten in 24 matches to clinch the Philippines Football League title for the third straight year before bouncing back from a 2-2 draw against Mendiola FC 1991 in the opener to win the next five games, including the Copa clincher.
The Busmen did it without the services of several key players led by midfielder Stephan Schrock, who currently abroad for the Philippine Azkals’ campaign in the FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Mendy slotted the ball off James Younghusband’s pass to put Ceres in front in the 29th minute.
The Senegalese striker also set up the second goal for the Busmen when he led an attack that resulted in Robles’ goal in the 68th minute.
Kaya, which won the inaugural Copa last year, gave itself a chance to draw level when Kenshiro Daniels scored from the edge of the box, six minutes before stoppage time. But the much-needed second goal eluded Kaya until the final whistle.