The time has finally come. Tonight, two teams will progress from the Philippines Football League Semifinals, both with a shot at being etched in Filipino football history as the first ever PFL Champions. Along with that opportunity, comes a highly coveted prize in itself. AFC qualification, the prestigious honor of competing amongst the very best in Asia, is a prospect all the top clubs in the country aim to experience. Tonight, the whole season — all seven months and 29 games — hinges on one last match. For Kaya Makati, there’s an opportunity to make their campaign a spectacular success, a storybook tale of defying the odds against the ASEAN Champions, Ceres Negros.
Springing an upset against South East Asia’s finest club, in front of a jam-packed Panaad Stadium, isn’t exactly an easy proposition for Kaya, especially when the hosts hold three wins over them already this season. The odds don’t look favorable for the visitors in tonight’s 7pm kickoff, but the squad is remaining unfazed.
“I think the mindset of course, is everybody wants to die [for this]. That’s our mindset, honestly, this is what Kaya, this what my teammates think,” said Marwin Angeles.
“It’s not just about football,” he continued. “This is for a better life for someone else. I think [playing in] AFC, and being the first ever champions of the country can change a lot [for the club]. That’s why I say the mindset is to give everything, as if it’s the last game of your life.”
Makati enter the match a goal down from the first leg at the University of Makati. Stephan Schrock’s 93rd minute goal snatched victory for Ceres in last week’s encounter, but Noel Marcaida believes the dramatic winner did little to change how Makati approaches Saturday’s match.
“Whether we drew that game or not, it’s the same thing, nothing changes. Going here for the 2nd leg, still the mentality is, we have to beat Ceres. In order for us to move into the finals, we have to beat Ceres, that’s it,” said Kaya’s head coach. “We are aware that the game will be very hard. It’s on Radio. Even the governor invited everyone to come watch the game.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s also going be a memorable one. We came here to win the game. And we will make sure to do everything to reach that objective,” Marcaida concluded.
Ceres Negros and Kaya Makati have had some heated encounters this season, but Ian Treyes is confident home comforts will keep the tide skewed in their favor.
“You know how Ceres plays. You’ve seen our games, especially here at home, it’s different,” said Ceres assistant coach Ian Treyes, on returning to his team’s familiar playing surface. “Playing at our home is a different thing, especially in front of our home crowd. It’s a must win also for us tomorrow.”
The match will kickoff at 7pm, at the Panaad Stadium, and will also be live streamed via MyCujoo: