Ceres-Negros opens its Copa Paulino Alacanta campaign when they face Davao Aguilas on September 1 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The opening match features the favorites in Group A which is considered the cup’s group of death.
The PFL Champions finished the league in style after it overcame a dangerous Stallion Laguna FC 4-1 last August 25. Davao meanwhile played to a 2-2 draw against the Laguna side in their final league match.
Negros owns the season record over Davao but it means very little as the Aguilas brought the Busmen to their knees with a 3-0 win in Panaad last August 12. Phil Younghusband’s successive goals the first half set the tone for visitors as they claimed their first win against the Negros squad.
Ceres-Negros will be keen to make up for their defeat with many of the players returning to full fitness after getting injured early this month. Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, and Patrick Reichelt have recovered well from their injuries making them available to the squad.
Both squads are expected to play their best eleven in their group opener which will see the top two teams making it to the knockout phase. The top team from each group will earn the right to host the one-game semifinal. The winner of the cup will be awarded a spot in the group stages of the 2019 AFC Cup.
Though Ceres has already qualified for the continental competition Ceres winger Curt Dizon and his team will strive to finish strong and possibly add another trophy this season.
“We’ve achieved our targets this year but of course we’re gonna approach the cup as professional as possible and go out and try to win it,” said the current national player.
“Cup football is a bit crazy. Anything could happen. People can see our group
as the group of death but the other group is tough as well. Its gonna be an interesting few games so I guess we’ll see what happens,” Dizon added.
Kickoff is set at 7PM with the opening cup match of Kaya-Iloilo and Global Cebu starting at 4pm at the historic stadium. Tickets are pegged at 100 pesos for the double header.
The match will also be streamed live at PFLtv.ph