DEFENDING Philippines Football League champion Ceres-Negros FC continued with its top level of play in the ongoing season, fashioning out a 7-0 victory over Philippine Air Force FC on Saturday at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa City, Batangas, for its 14 straight win.

Towed by the hat trick of Robert Lopez Mendy, the “Busmen” were simply unstoppable for the “Airmen” when they finally got their collective groove.

The win took Ceres to a 14-1-0 record with 43 points, six clear of their closest pursuer Kaya FC-Iloilo (12-1-2) while the defeat sent Air Force to its 14th defeat of the tournament as opposed three wins and two draws. Bienvenido Maranon opened the scoring for Ceres, finding the bottom of the net in the 32nd minute.

The goal started a strong finishing kick for the Busmen in the opening half, that saw them score two more goals — OJ Porteria (35’) and Mr. Lopez Mendy (38’) — to make it a 3-0 count by the halftime break.

The Ceres juggernaut continued in the second half despite the Air Force’s staunch resistance.

Back-to-back goals by Mr. Lopez Mendy in the 72nd and 75th minute made it a 5-0 lead for his team.

From there, Ceres never looked back.

Goals from Mike Ott (85th) and Dennis Villanueva (87th) after completed the rout.

“It’s not easy to play after the long break. It’s normal that we start slow in the beginning but later it was a very easy game after the fifth goal. It’s always difficult to switch on the competitive level but we always tried to play the way we did,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic, whose team saw some of its players play recently for the Philippine men’s national football team for the joint qualifiers for World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023.

Ceres battles Kaya on Sept. 18 at the Biñan Stadium in Laguna. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo