Ceres-Negros FC opens their AFC Cup campaign when they host Boeug Ket Angkor on Feburary 13 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Busmen will be out to defend the ASEAN Zone title which they earned after defeating Singapore’s Home United in the two-legged final last year.
The core of the squad has returned which includes the likes of Stephan Schrock, Manny Ott, and Super Herrera whose aim is to surpass the quarterfinal finish of last year.
Matchday one will also see the possible tournament debut of new signings in Tony Doblas, Mike Ott, Sean Kane, and Takumi Uesato.
Ceres-Negros was drawn in Group F which features the C-League champions in Boeung Ket, ASEAN Zone finalists Home United, and Myanmar champions Shan United.
It will be the first time for both clubs to meet in the continental competition with the Cambodian squad being the less familiar opponents for the hosts.
Boeung Ket FC qualified to the AFC Cup Play-offs after winning their domestic league and by beating Lao Toyota over two legs in the play-off.
The Laotian squad had the advantage going in to the second leg after securing a 3-3 draw away in Phnom Penh. Angkor overcame the away goal deficit with a winning goal from striker Khuon Laboravy to finish 4-3 in aggregate.
The Cambodian squad boasts of a young core of locals which are supported by tough imports in Nigerian’s Julius Oiboh and Gbenga Ajayi, Japanese Hikaru Mizuno, and Brazilian Maycon Silva Calijuri.
It will be the fourth time for the Bacolod-based club to join the competition. After a stinging play-off defeat in 2014, the Busmen reached the quarterfinals last year where they fell to eventual finalists FC Istiklol.
The road to AFC Cup glory starts on Tuesday with the kickoff set at 730pm at the epicenter of Philippine club football. The match will be shown live over cable channel Fox Sports 2.