WHEN Ceres FC broke into the national scene, we all thought that this is one club that will never run out of money. I mean, a bus conglomerate serving an archipelago is one company that will be printing money for years. And, in gatherings by football fans all over the country, whenever the topic of another Ceres acquisition gets raised, one would joke, “Maybe he gets a bus as part of his salary.”
Not even the specter of a bitter family feud over who holds control over the bus company could slow Ceres, as it continued to set the standard for Philippine club football in the international scene.
But sadly, Ceres the bus company is no longer the same financial-wise, four months after the Covid-19 ravaged our economy. Bus companies that are already operating have to deal with added safety protocols, none more critical than social distancing. It simply means you can’t carry the same number of passengers before.
Fewer passengers means less money. Less money for Ceres the bus company means less money for Ceres the football club.
That forced Leo Rey Yanson, the visionary behind the club, to let go of his baby and to look for new management and owners.
That in itself is a comfort. He didn’t just fold shop like what the others did, or just refused to join, like what the Agilas did. He decided to look around for new owners.
The new owners will be a lucky bunch to take over such a club. It may no longer carry the name Ceres, but whatever name the new club will carry on its jersey, its place in Philippine football history is safe.
Sure, we all wished for another winner during the club’s dominant run in the local domestic scene, but like the rest of Pinoy fans, we were behind the club when it set history and came so close to making the group stage of the AFC Champions League, stunning Australia’s Brisbane Roar in the process.
I can’t believe that in just the same lifetime, merely decades after reading about how a Philippine club—was it the Air Force—got clobbered in the lowly Southeast Asian level club competition, we are reading about Ceres beating a club in Australia.
I don’t know who will take over Ceres, but I wish the new owners luck. Heck, I wish all the owners of the clubs that have somehow kept themselves above water during the pandemic luck as they restart our domestic scene.
And if rumors hold true, we will see the comeback of the Loyola Meralco Sparks, then I guess, we will have some good news in the next few weeks.