By Mymy Alagaban
Footy Rankings, an Indonesia-based website that publishes rankings for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), placed three-time Philippines Football League (PFL) champions Ceres-Negros FC at #25 on their January 29 rankings, placing them above Thai League 1 club Buriram United, making them the top-ranked team in the ASEAN region.
“The ranking is really a reward for the hard work and sacrifices of the players and coaching staff,” said Ceres FC owner Leo Rey Yanson. “Our last three matches－even against FC Tokyo－showed that the level of the Philippines is improving.”
“Ceres would not have reached this position if not for the clubs in the PFL, the Philippine Football Federation, and the people who have made sure that the league continues to run－we share this honor with all of them,” he added. “It’s also a call for everyone to support the league and Philippine football.”
Both Ceres FC and Buriram United were unsuccessful in their respective bids for a spot in the 2020 AFC Champions League with the Bacolod City-based side falling 2-0 to FC Tokyo and the Thai outfit losing 3-0 to Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG.
With their elimination from the Champions League, the Bacolodnon side will compete in the 2020 AFC Cup, where they are already drawn in Group G alongside Than Quang Ninh, who finished third in Vietnam’s V.League 1; 2019 Liga 1 winners Bali United; and 2019 Cambodian League champions Svay Rieng.
Ceres FC opens their AFC Cup campaign next month, February 11, against the Cambodian club at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“The club has gone through so much in the past year but the coaches and the players have shown a lot of character to keep going,” Yanson said. “We are hoping for another successful campaign in the AFC Cup this year.”
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Chinese club ranked second overall, behind J1 League side Kashima Antlers.
In addition, PFL club Kaya FC-Iloilo came in at #97./WDJ