|El Matador. Bienve fired a hat-trick as Ceres Negros retain the PFL crown. PFL Photo|
By Kevin Estrada
MANILA -- Hitting and running their way to the top, Ceres Negros retain the PFL title just before the month of August, after turning Global Cebu into a hapless roadkill with a 6-1 rout on Wednesday night at the Rizal Memorial.
A hat-trick by Bienvenido Marañon led the way for Risto Vidakovic's Busmen as they ensured that the league title will remain in Bacolod after bulldozing through the opposition as their 54 points on the table with four matches to spare was just too much of Kaya Iloilo to handle.
It also ended a seven-year wait for a successful defence of the league crown after Philippine Air Force did the trick in the old UFL.
The Spaniard opened the rout in the 20th minute with a left-footed effort that smoothly went past Florencio Badelic's frame.
Then Mike Ott and Omid Nazari fired a pair of long-ranged shots past Badelic in the 36th and the 39th minute with the Negrenses comfortably ahead at the break.
However, Marvin Angeles pulled one back three minutes into the restart with his left foot inside the box.
But Marañon put an end to the short-lived resistance as he converted on the younger Ott's pass to make it 4-1 in the 70th, a minute after he was denied by Badelic from the spot.
Substitute Blake Powell continued the rout five minutes later as he converted his retaken penalty by sending the former Manila netminder to the opposite direction.
Marañon then completed his hat-trick two minutes before full time with a simple tap-in to cap off their title procession.
With the title wrapped up, the dream of treble is alive by next week, starting with their AFC Cup ASEAN Zone rematch with Home United on the very first day of the new month.
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