By Gabriel Tan in Bangkok
While they gave it their all against the Merah Putih, the combination of the strength of their opponents and a crowd of 88,000 hostile fans proved too much to overcome as the Azkals were eliminated 2-0 on aggregate.
However, as the Suzuki Cup gets underway on Saturday with two Group A fixtures in Bangkok, things could not be more different.
Following Philippines' magical run to the last four in 2010, interest in football has reached an all-time high in the country, as seen by the rise of the United Football League (UFL) - their semi-professional domestic league.
Infrastructure and facilities in the former Spanish colony are slowly improving and should the Azkals progress out of their group, which also includes Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, there will be a stadium for a home leg come the semi-finals.
As the Azkals prepare to open their campaign on Saturday evening at the Rajamangala Stadium against group hosts Thailand, star striker Phil Younghusband admits his team-mates will be motivated by the prospect of bringing the region's most-prestigious international tournament back to Manila.
"It's huge if we can bring the Suzuki Cup to the Philippines," he told ESPNSTAR.com. "It [having home advantage] could have been the difference between the final and the semi-final for us last time.
"I know the lights have been fixed and the stadium has been made ready just in case - you never know.
"I think having your home crowd behind you really makes a difference. If you see our record at home in the last year, it's been quite good with our fans behind us in the Philippines so hopefully we can get into that position where we can make our crowd a factor in the game."
Since he lit up the 2010 Suzuki Cup with a series of scintillating displays, Younghusband has been widely regarded by many as one of Southeast Asia's most-lethal strikers.
Although he is once again expected to deliver the goals for the Azkals, the 25-year-old insists it doesn't matter how many times he hits the back of the net as long as the Philippines make it all the way.
"I don't have any targets for me, only for the team," he added. "I just want to work hard for the team and I would say if the team does well, then the individual does well.
"You always notice the individual in a successful team and if the team does well, then every individual will get recognised.
"For me personally, it's all about hard work and being part of a team that has good results and if that means scoring goals, then better for me. But the main objective is the team gets as far as possible."
Two years ago, the Philippines raised more than a few eyebrows when they finished second in Group B ahead of three-time champions Singapore and made it to the semi-finals.
Nonetheless, Younghusband is aware that things are very different now and that expectations are understandably higher given the huge strides the Azkals have taken in recent years.
"I was just thinking at training today [Friday] that it has been two years since the competition," the Loyola Meralco Sparks spearhead explained. "And I was thinking about the game tomorrow [Saturday] and how if we don't do well, it would be such a waste and a shame.
"But if we do well, the feeling will be amazing. As the game gets closer, I think I'll start feeling a bit of the nerves and the pressure. But when the Suzuki Cup finished the last time, we just couldn't wait for the next one.
"Now it's come around and it's only a day away, it's actually very exciting."
Following Saturday's game, Philippines take on Vietnam next Tuesday before finishing their campaign against Myanmar three days later.
ESPN STAR Sports will broadcast all 18 matches with the most extensive online coverage on the AFF Suzuki Cup. Check espnstar.com (espnstar.my or espnstar.co.id) for local TV listing & breaking news. Follow us on Twitter @espn_star (or @espnstarmy, @espnstarid) for the latest updates from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.