Ceres Negros FC's historic run ended on Tuesday after the Busmen bowed to Tianjin Quanjian FC in the playoffs for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.
Frenchman Anthony Modeste scored a brace that sank the visiting team at the Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium in China, 2-0.
Modeste scored goals in the 18th and the 57th minutes, while turning back Ceres.
Stephan Schlock nearly scored a goal for Ceres in the 13th but his effort was warded off. Mike Ott also had a chance at the net early in the second half, but his header did not convert.
“We played against a much stronger team today,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic in the Philippine Football Federation website after the match. “I’m very proud of the players. They responded very well on the pitch.”
A win by the Busmen would have moved the Negros-based team into the top-tier club competition in Asia. Ceres joined Global Cebu FC in the group stage of the AFC Cup. Ceres is in Group F, while Global is in Group G.
But Ceres, the inaugural domestic league champion, has nothing to be ashamed of as it gained the distinction of being the first Philippine club to reach the final playoff round.
The Busmen set a playoff with Tianjin by shocking Brisbane Roar FC, 3-2, at Queensland Sport and Athletics Stadium last week.
“We appreciate what Ceres Negros FC showed in the AFC Champions League play-off round against a much stronger opponent,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta.
“We hope their good run continues as both Ceres and Global take part in the AFC Cup.”
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.