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Stallion Laguna already looks forward to facing Ceres Negros in Copa semis

By Ivan Saldajeno

BINAN--Even if the two nightcaps in the final day of the Copa Paulino Alcantara group stages are not yet starting, Stallion Laguna has set its sights on one semifinal opponent: Ceres Negros.

In fact, Coach Ernie Nierras already assumed that Ceres Negros will beat Green Archers United later Wednesday at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa.

"I'm sure Ceres will be first place, so we will have to face Ceres on Sunday," Nierras said after Stallion Laguna battled to a draw against Kaya Iloilo at the Binan Football Stadium.

[Related Story: Kaya Iloilo takes top seed in Group with draw at Stallion Laguna]

Stallion Laguna actually had a chance to get the top seed in Group B with a win against Kaya Iloilo at home.

But Stallion Laguna's hopes were dashed when Jayson Panhay scored the opening goal for Kaya Iloilo in the 59th minute.

Stallion Laguna got a lifeline with a free kick goal from Koichi Belgira in the 73rd minute, but the club failed to score another down the stretch and its fate was sealed.

Still, Nierras is satisfied with the valiant effort.

"Whatever the results will be will be. We just wanted to make sure that we went out here trying to win the match," he added.

Already assured of a semifinal seat before the Halloween break, Stallion Laguna opted to keep some of its key guys off the bench and let seldom used players like Jinggoy Valmayor get a start only to fielding them in as second half subs.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno