Giant-slayer Ceres eyes finals slot vs Kaya

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BUNDLING out two United Football League champions has given Ceres the belief that it has what it takes to go all the way in the PFF Smart National Club Championships.

Another UFL powerhouse, Kaya, takes a crack at the upset-conscious side from Bacolod at 4 p.m. today with a spot in the finals at stake at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Green Archers Globe tangles with Pasargad in an all-UFL clash in the other Final Four pairing at 6:30 p.m.

The spotlight, however, will be on Ceres—named after a bus company owned by the family of team managers Ricky and Leorey Yanson—which is hoping to continue its fairytale run in the tournament that started out with 50 teams from all over the country.

While the UFL Cup was used to determine which teams from the league qualifies for the tournament, Ceres had to go through a Visayas qualifying stage before eliminating some of the biggest clubs in the country in Stallion and Global in the knockout phase.

“We got a lot of confidence from our earlier matches but of course Kaya will be hard to beat,” said Ceres coach Freddie Lazarito, whose squad is built around standout players from Negros Occidental and a slew of Korean and British players.

Kaya coach Maor Rozen, who steered the club to a 1-0 win over Loyola in the quarterfinals last week, is aware of the threat posed by Ceres. “We are not blind,” Rozen, who took over during the off-season, said. “We know what they are capable of. They will be very tough.”

Kaya will miss the likes of veterans Anton del Rosario and Aly Borromeo due to injury. National team player Jason Sabio has already left the club, forcing Rozen to try out a new-look backline.

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