by Jonas Terrado
Bienvenido Maranon delivered a hat trick for the second time as Ceres Negros blanked Shan United, 5-0, to secure a place in the ASEAN Zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
Maranon scored the first two goals in the 38th and 43rd minutes before adding a third in the 71st to help the Busmen clinch top spot in Group G and a third straight trip to the zonal semis of the continental competition.
Carli de Murga and OJ Porteria also found the back of the net in the final 10 minutes for Ceres which has won all five matches in the group stage for 15 points, five clear of Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong with one matchday left.
Ceres wraps up its group stage assignment against Becamex on May 15 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The hat trick put the Spanish-born Maranon as the tournament’s current top goalscorer with nine.
His previous three-goal outing came last March 12 when Ceres beat Becamex, 3-1, in Thu Dau Mot, Vietnam.