Bienve's absence not a concern for Risto as Negros defend ASEAN Crown

With or without the tournament's leading goalscorer, Risto Vidaković has a lot of options for Ceres Negros. PFL
By Kevin Estrada

Ceres Negros are ready to defend their ASEAN Zone title in the AFC Cup, even without Bienvenido Marañon.

This was Risto Vidaković told the press in Bacolod, when the Busmen take on Home United once again later tonight in the first leg sans the Spaniard, who miss the tie on due to his actions in the zonal semifinal against Yangon United.

"We have already prepared without him," he said. "We have to think about the players that can play and I think we have enough supply of players that the team will not suffer in his absence."

Other than that, the Serbian takes the Protectors very seriously, as their budding rivalry is now on its fifth of their guaranteed sixth match in the past two years.

"It doesn't matter what the score was in the last one. Its a new game, its a very important game. For us its a big opportunity to repeat the history."

In their first four meetings, the Singaporean side had the advantage by winning a mach each home and away, but Negros took the most important one when they blanked Aidil Shahrin's side to take the inaugural ASEAN title last year.

His acquisition of Blake Powell and Curt Dizon during the window are timely to cover for the loss of the tournament's top goal-getter, with the latter even scored for Global Cebu during the group stage.

However, the Betis legend plays caution to the wind and there are a lot of things to improve after their first two matches with them even culminated with Negros retaining the PFL title.

"They will need to play with the team and they need to adapt to what we need and what we expect from them. Maybe its too early to talk about them but they still need time. "

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