By Gabriel Tan in Manila
The fact that the match is the first leg of an AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final clash already shows how significant the day is, given the Azkals are looking to book their maiden final appearance in Southeast Asia's most-prestigious international competition.
However, more significantly, it will also announce to the majority of the sports-mad Filipino public, who have chanelled most of their attention on basketball and a boxer by the name of Manny Pacquaio, that football is well and truly alive in the country.
Given 90% of tickets had already been sold on Thursday afternoon, the Rizal Memorial Stadium is expected to be filled up to its 13,000 capacity in what will be the first Suzuki Cup game held in the Philippines.
Just two years ago, the Azkals made the semi-finals of the competition for the first time but back then, the lack of a suitable stadium meant they had to play both legs against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, where they ultimately fell to a 2-0 aggregate defeat.
This time around, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano Araneta believes home support can make the difference as they look to draw first blood against the Lions ahead of next Wednesday's return leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
"The response has been very good," he told ESPNSTAR.com. "As of [Thursday], we already hit 90% [for our ticket sales] and we only started on Monday.
"Everyone is looking forward to Saturday's game very much. This is the first time we are hosting a Suzuki Cup game, and for it to be a semi-final clash, I think the fans will come in droves to support the team."
Once regarded as minnows in the region, the Philippines showed their place in the last four was not a one-off by bouncing back from an opening-day defeat to Thailand to finish runners-up in Group A with wins over Vietnam and Myanmar.
Although the rapid increase in the Azkals faithful over the last few years and their recent rise have led many to label them as favourites against Singapore, Araneta does not believe the pressure will be overwhelming for his team.
"Of course our target is to reach the final, but at this point, I'm already thankful we have reached the semis," the ex-Philippines international added.
"This is an achievement on our part because we've proven [our performance in] the last Suzuki Cup was not a fluke as far as reaching the semi-finals goes.
"We just hope for the best in our game on Saturday and next Wednesday against Singapore."
With the popularity of football now at an all-time high in the Philippines, Araneta admits the next step his federation has to take is to start putting the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure Filipino football thrives in the long run.
"As far as the national team is concerned, we've improved a lot but we still have to look at the youth levels of football in Philippines," he explained.
"But I think that's where we have to catch up some more, especially based on the results of the recent youth tournaments [Philippines participated in], where we did not fare very well.
"But the passion is there and hopefully our youth level will improve because of what's happening to the national team. The national team has improved a lot, based on the [FIFA world] rankings and the results, and I hope we can sustain the momentum.
"This year we started our 'Kasibulan', which is our grassroots program. There has been tremendous interest from six to 12-year-olds, which is the the main target group of our program.
"Even in football schools and private academies in Metro Manila, the enrolment in the summer has improved so much that they had to limit the number of enrollees.
"I'm confident if we can sustain the momentum of the success of the national team, we will have more children playing football."
Given the steps the PFF have already taken in recent times, it seems likely the Azkals are going to remain one of Southeast Asia's strongest sides in the years to follow.
But if they just manage to win the Suzuki Cup in 2012, the Philippines could just slowly but steadily be edging towards a new national sport.