By ESPNSTAR.com staff
The unfancied Azkals made waves two years ago in the previous Suzuki Cup with an impressive outing in the competition which saw them hold three times ASEAN champions Singapore to a 1-1 draw and upsetting the odds with a 2-0 victory over title holders Vietnam.
Philippines eventually reached the semi-finals of that year's tournament where they saw their magnificent run finally halted with a 2-0 loss on aggregate to Indonesia.
However, the Azkals have since used their experience in the competition to make huge strides in the international football scene; Palami's men managed to reach the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup the previous year, and followed up that up by winning the bronze medal in the AFC Challenge Cup in March this year.
And Palami believes that his side, who have recently had training camps in the United States and the Middle East in preparations for the upcoming Suzuki Cup, are no longer considered as 'underdogs' by the other teams.
"Our opponents no longer consider us underdogs but the dark horse in the tournament," Palami was quoted as saying by the official AFF Suzuki Cup website.
"Everybody is expecting a hard fight from us and we have to live up to expectations as well, not only from fans here (in the Philippines) but also from the competition.
"We caught them by surprise in 2010, but I doubt they will get surprised by us again."
Palami also declared that his players would go all out to show that they deserved their all-time high FIFA ranking of 147th.
"We have to prove we deserve the ranking as well as the reputation we're getting from the football community," Palami declared.
Philippines have been grouped together with co-hosts Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar in Group A and will play the War Elephants in their first game.