Ceres-La Salle were drawn with fellow Southeast Asian sides Selangor FA, who hail from Malaysia, and S-League runners-up Tampines Rovers. Rounding up Group E are Bangladeshi champions Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmodi.
Like Ceres, Kaya FC will face a Singaporean team in Balestier Khalsa, alongside Hong Kong champs Kitchee and Maldives’ powerhouse club New Radiant.
The AFC Cup is the second-most prestigious club competition in Asian football. The tournament is evenly split into two zones, namely the west and the east, of 16 teams each. This has been done to cluster teams with nearer counterparts, making logistics more convenient in the double round-robin home-and-away group stages.
2016 marks the second year for Filipino teams in the competition. Global represented the Philippines in last year’s edition and made it as far as the group stages. Ceres also had the chance to enter the group stages but were denied by Maldives side Maziya after losing in a playoff match.
Able to redeem themselves with a remarkable league run, Ceres are raring to host their opponents in the City of Smiles: Bacolod. Kaya joined them following their success in the UFL Cup, which required besting Ceres in the final.
Featuring 32 teams across the continent, the 2016 AFC Cup will begin in late February. Ceres are bound to welcome Selangor in Bacolod while Kaya will travel to Hong Kong as they visit Kitchee.
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