Ceres-Negros FC will take on the newly reinforced Davao Aguilas in their first PFL meeting on July 22 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod. The Negros squad is looking to establish momentum after an emphatic 7-0 win away to Meralco Manila last weekend.
The Busmen came off two successive seven goal victories over Ilocos and Manila and are keen to continue the streak before facing Singapore’s Home United in the first leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal finals. The Aguilas have bounced back from a 1-5 setback against Kaya Makati but have shown promise after forcing a 0-0 draw away against Global in Cebu.
It will be an interesting first matchup of the season for the two teams as the visitors have been busy early in the transfer window. Davao has signed available players in Ceres’ Jason De Jong and Global Cebu’s Nick O’Donnel and Matthew Hartmann. The young core of the visitors are currently playing the the AFC U23 tournament. Dylan De Bruycker and the rest of the selected U23 will be unavailable for the match. From the three new players, only Hartmann and O’ Donnel will suit up for tomorrow’s match.
Davao assistant Coach Melchor Azures has bared that they only have sixteen players for tomorrow’s match including Hartmann and O’ Donnel who have only met twice with the team. Azures trusts that they will easily integrate with the team with short notice. “Nasa player na yan kung anong instruction ang ibibigay din ni Coach. Its up them on how they play sa loob. Actually professional players naman yan, matagal na naglalaro yang mga yan, so it’s easy for them to adjust. Kaya lang yung system of play medyo baka may konting adjustment na gagawin,” the assistant coach added.
Ceres is welcoming back Omid Nazari from injury and are expected have all players available except for Joshua Grommen who is in national duty. Ceres midfielder Arnie Pasinabo is excited for their first encounter in the league. “We trained everyday in preparation for tomorrows game. We’re excited to play with them, especially its the first match in the PFL. So I’m expecting a good game for tomorrow,” said the former Azkal player.
“For us its a challenge to beat all the teams that come here,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic. “We have to stay unbeaten at home. We have respect for all the teams in the league and as I said before, I expect my players to be one-hundred percent motivated to beat Davao tomorrow because its the first time we play against them.
When asked about on any special preparation versus Davao, the Serbian-born coach laments the lack of coverage which is slightly dampens preparations for all teams. “The problem here in the league is you cannot watch a lot of games so the information is not enough to prepare the game especially for one team. What we do, especially when we play at home, is we attack so we’ll just work on the offensive football. I hope that will work and we can beat Davao,” Vidakovic added.