Back-to-back Philippines Football League Champions Ceres-Negros FC starts their title defense when they face Stallion Laguna FC on May 25 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in the Philippine capital.
The Busmen are keen to start their domestic campaign on a high note when they face the Laguna squad who have had plenty of good signings in the off-season.
Gerardo Jinggoy Valmayor and Chima Uzoka will be potent up front for the Laguna side with Uzoka bringing with him Thai league experience in the fold. The UP connection of OJ Clarino and Daniel Gadia would give them a big boost them in the midfield.
Patrick Deyto is their biggest signing to date after the former Azkal has recovered from a minor offseason surgery. Regular holdovers Matt Nierras, Fitch Arboleda, and team captain Ruben Doctora will carry the banner for the strongest Stallion lineup in recent history.
Both teams earned one win each against each other in the Copa Paulino Alcantara group stage last year but the Laguna side eliminated the Negros representatives largely on their 3-0 win on their first encounter. The Busmen pulled back with a 2-1 win later on but it was not enough for them to reach the knockout rounds.
Ceres-Negros will be keen on bouncing back after its surprising defeat against Becamex Binh Duong at home in the final match of the group stage of the AFC Cup. The defending champs are set to test their mettle in the domestic scene in preparation for its big test against Hanoi FC in June.
A full squad will be in the disposal of Coach Risto Vidakovic which includes the likes of Bienvenido Maranon, Mike Ott, and Roland Muller. Blake Powell will also be available after a minor surgery in the off-season.
The 7PM match will be the highlight of a double header after the game between Kaya FC-Iloilo and Green Archers United at 4PM. Tickets are pegged at P50 which will already cover the cost of both games. Matches will be streamed live via PFLtv.ph