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Schrocky putting on a show as Ceres runs riot at wayward Loyola to go second

Stephan Schröck and Ceres recovered from a painful loss to Kaya next week, ramming a disjointed Loyola with his hat-trick.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA-- Ceres' dreams to return to Asian football next season got  a huge boost late Saturday afternoon, after dispatching title rivals Loyola, 4-1 in a battle between the league's number two and three here at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Bacolod Busmen recovered from a stinging loss to Kaya last week just in time, with Stephan Schröck notching a hat-trick and Manny Ott netting a goal of his own to save Risto Vidaković's job as the champions overtaken Loyola in second with 35 points on the league table.

Loyola started the match at the wrong foot and they were made to pay for it dearly, as Simon Greatwich's consolation strike two minutes before full time was not enough for them, dragging the Sparks down to fourth, a point behind idle JP Voltes who just came from a shock win over league leaders Global.

Simon McMenemy took a huge gamble in putting Jake Morallo and Anto Gonzales in the full-back slots and elevating last Sunday's match-winner Koichi Belgira in the left wing. Ceres meanwhile, welcomes the return of goalkeeper Louie Casas and skipper Kim Sang-min to the starting fold for the suspended Val Kama, partnering them with Jason Sabio in the central defence.

However, it was the on-loan dynamo who shone the brightest early on, as he fired a free kick that left Gui Hasegawa stranded to put Ceres on the board first just eight minutes in.

And it only took twelve minutes for Schrocky to get his brace, as he fired a left foot past the shellshocked netminder to double the champion's advanta in the match, before the left post denied him of a hat-trick heading into the halftime break.

Manny Ott made sure of getting all three points just six minutes into the restart with a flick to the far post past the Brazilian for a 3-0 lead. And with just six minutes before full time, Schrocky completed his hat trick with his shot to Hasegawa's left post to add salt into the woods.

The youngest of the Greatwich siblings wrecked Casas's pursuit of the clean sheet with a close range hit but it was not meant to be for the one-time cup holders as they failed to repeat their opening day win over Ceres last April 30.

Vidaković lauded the fortitude of his men to recover in time after a crushing loss last week.

"It was crucial today. If we lose, that's the league [season] for us. We have three games left and we try to give our best," the Serbian tactician spoke to the press after the match.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada