|Kaya Iloilo is ready to enjoy its maiden stint in the AFC Champions League group stages despite the pressure. AFC|
MANILA—For the first time ever, the Philippines will be represented in the AFC Champions League proper.
And two clubs are in it.
United Clark booked a group stage spot in the Champions League outright through winning the PFL bubble last year.
Kaya Iloilo, on the other hand, made it to the tournament proper by beating Shanghai Port in the Group F qualifier on Wednesday night in Bangkok.
Being the first to step on to the pitch on Saturday night if timezone is to be considered, Kaya Iloilo gets the privilege to be the first Filipino club to play in the ACL group stages.
With that, Coach Graham Harvey admitted on Friday that the pressure of playing in the grandest football competition in Asia is there.
"There is a little bit of pressure because we're here in the biggest competition in Asia," Harvey said during the press conference of Kaya Iloilo's clash with BG Pathum United.
Kaya Iloilo is the only runner-up in Group F, which is filled with champs in BG Pathum, the reigning Thai League 1 winner, Viettel, the V League 1 titleholder, and K-League outfit Ulsan Hyundai, the defending ACL champion.
The quality of the clubs in Group F makes the said group arguably the "group of death" in the East Zone.
Despite all of these, Kaya Iloilo looks to savor the moment.
"We just wanna enjoy and see how we can go," midfielder Marvin Angeles said.
Kaya Iloilo and BG Pathum, the host of the Group F bubble, will face off at the Pathum Thani Stadium in the Thai capital at 6 p.m. Saturday (Philippine Time).
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