Ceres Busmen seal two key additions for AFC
Building up for continental competitions next year, reigning Philippines Football League (PFL) champion Ceres-Negros beefed up its attack line by signing a couple of battle-tested players who are also armed with international experience.
The Bacolod-based club acquired national team standout Mark Hartmann and former United Football League player of the year Pika Minegishi to shore up its squad that will face Myanmar side Yangon United in the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League on Jan. 14.Homegrown player AFC Champions League (ACL) will also return to the club after a one year stint with Kaya Iloilo.
“These players are big additions to the club especially with the challenge we’re facing in the AFC Champions League,” said club administrator Nicolas Golez. “We want to continue competing for the spot in the group stage of the ACL. And that starts with securing the services of quality players to reinforce our current squad.”
An attacking midfielder who has been playing upfront for the Azkals in recent matches, Hartmann, 27, has long been in the radar of Ceres, but he moved to Singapore’s Geylang International in 2016 after a successful campaign with Global FC.Since then, Hartmann has played for two clubs in Malaysia and four clubs in Thailand with his most recent stint at Nakhon Ratchasima. Hartmann was recalled to the national team early last year, earning his spot following strong performances in the Thai League.
The 28-year-old Minegishi, who played for Global from 2015 to 2017, returns after a quiet couple of seasons in Thailand where he played for Pattaya United. Ceres also announced that midfielder Miguel Tanton has left the club.
But the club has retained majority of the players from the side that won a third straight PFL crown last season, including star Stephan Schrock, top scorer Bienve Marañon and defender Super Herrera. INQ