Ceres-Negros FC will play their first Philippines Football League match away against Kaya FC on May 6 at the University of Makati Stadium in Guadalupe. The match will be the first in the inaugural league which features a double home-and-away format and a grand final at the end of the competition.
Both last met in September in the United Football League where Kaya scored a 1-0 win in injury time shut down Ceres’ league title aspirations in 2016. The two squads return in league action with new acquisitions and some familiarity on the pitch. OJ Porteria and Junior Munoz have moved to Ceres while Jayson Panhay, Jalsor Soriano, Marvin and Marwin Angeles have transferred to the Makati-based squad.
The virtual swap of players has made the PFL opener more interesting, pitting former teammates against each other in a different setting. “Its good always to play against your old team,” said now-Ceres defender Junior Munoz. “I’m excited. I’m super excited. Im sure also OJ (Porteria) is. I’ve been looking for this game already for a long time but now the time is near its good to have a game against my old club,” added the former Kaya defender.
“Its challenging of course,” said Arnie Pasinabo Jr. “They (former teammates) know how we click in the team and how the team runs. They were my longtime teammates so its more challenging for me, the former Azkal added.
“You know I just have to go into the game just like any other game,” said Ceres midfielder OJ Porteria. “Of course I have a lot of love for the club and I’ll definitely show my respect on Saturday. But It’s football you know and I have to just do my job,” the longtime Kaya player added.
Kaya has been quiet for the most of the pre-season given their heavily loaded lineup. Former Stallion player Jordan Mintah will make his debut with the club who has maintained its strong core and has added a talented bunch of local players including Patrick Franksson and Ref Cuaresma. Ceres will feature the local league debuts of its foreign players in Manuel Herrera, Fernando Rodriguez, Kota Kawase, and national team players Iain Ramsay and Luke Woodland.
Ceres veteran Martin Steuble sees the first game as a big challenge but has set a high standard going into the match. “(Its a) very interesting game. Kaya has always been a tough opponent. But I think we have a very strong team. I think we, normally by the expectations we have on ourselves, have to get three points there,” said the Ceres co-captain.
A packed house is expected in the University of Makati Stadium with the venue being easily the most accessible in Metro Manila. Support for the home squad will be massive with the Makati-based club being one of the most active in the last decade. The match will kickoff at 4PM with the match shown live over the PTV channel. Tickets will be available at the venue.