The past eight months of the year has been very fulfilling for Ceres-Negros FC. The club reached great heights in the AFC Cup with the ASEAN zonal championship victory over Singapore’s Home United last August 9 as the highlight of the campaign so far. It has been a goal of the club to make history and with the support of our fans, family and friends here and abroad, we were able to achieve a first not only in Philippine football but also in the Southeast Asia region.
It was by no means an easy road to the ASEAN crown. The club and people behind the scenes worked extremely hard to reach our goals. From the management of the club to the Local Organizing Committee as well as the players and the coaching staff, Ceres went all-out in representing the City of Bacolod, the province of Negros Occidental and the Philippines the best way it can.
The players and staff have been fantastic throughout our journey in the AFC Cup. They are the reason why we get to enjoy the “Beautiful Game” and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it. They worked tirelessly to put in performances in every match. More than an official of the club, I am a fan of the Beautiful Game. Iain Ramsay’s beautiful strike to start the 5-0 win over Tampines Rovers to Fernando Rodriguez’s penalty late in stoppage time that won us the semifinal against heavily favoured Johor Dairul Ta’zim of Malaysia and the free kick from Manny Ott in the Asean zonal finals, it’s in these moments which make us all love the Beautiful Game. Those goals were not only a product of individual skill, but a collective effort by players driven by the love and support of their supporters.
The role of our wonderful Ceres-Negros fans has been equally important to our success. This year, more than ever, disappointment of losing on the opponent’s home turf was always overshadowed by the excitement to once again play at Panaad Stadium. The players always looking forward to playing at home, knowing that they have the backing of the Panaad crowd. Because of your support, the players always find an extra gear when they are out on the pitch at Panaad. We will need the same support as we continue our journey not just in the AFC Cup but also in the Philippines Football League.
We also express our gratitude to the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and the City of Bacolod through Mayor Evelio Leonardia for their all-out support. The support you give pushes us to continue working harder and improving in every aspect of our game.
There will always be tough moments and disappointments as the club tackles many challenges for the remaining months of the year. But rest assured that Ceres-Negros will always be motivated and determined to give glory to the city and province. We only hope that you join us every step of the way.
Leo Rey Yanson