The PRFU was delighted once again to be invited to this year's Philippine National Games(PNG) by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee. The games were held last June 1 at Nomad Sports Club in Merville Subdivision, Parañaque City.
Twelve men’s teams and four women’s teams registered to compete at the second Philippine National Games. The Men’s Division had the Alabang Eagles, CBRE Maverick Vipers teams A and B, Nomads-CRC, Cebu Dragons, Globe Blacks, Globe Blues, Globe Classics, University of Makati Herons, Quezon City Polytechnic University Questors teams A and B, and Clark Jets Rugby teams in competition. The Women's Division had Team Athena, Team Xena, University of Makati Lady Herons, and Quezon City Polytechnic University Lady Questors.
Rugby 7s is an exciting sport and promotes action, speed, agility and teamwork. It is a perfect sport for any young Filipino athletes who enjoy the challenge of playing a dynamic contact sport. The PRFU restricted participation to the PNG Rugby 7s tournament to Filipino Heritage players only. It was exciting to see over 200 Filipino athletes take the field to compete to become the top Rugby 7s teams in the country.
The Men’s competition saw the teams battle in a round robin format in their respective pools and then break into Cup, Plate, and Bowl for the finals. The Alabang Eagles, Cebu Dragons, CBRE Maverick Vipers A, and Nomads-CRC were ranked the number one team in their respective pools after the round games. Thus, these teams entered the Cup Division.
It was the debutante university teams, QCPU team A and UMAK, who surprised everyone and managed to win against more experienced teams in their pools. These universities have only been playing the sport for almost a year now but they proved that rugby 7s is their forte. They proved that size in Rugby 7s is not everything as they ran around their opponents, displaying deft rugby skills and teamwork. As a result, they came in second in their pools and entered the Plate Division for the finals. They were joined by Globe Blacks and Globe Classics in that division.
QCPU team B, Globe Blues, CBRE Maverick Vipers team B, and Clark Jets made up the Bowl Division after the pool rounds.
The Women's Division saw the more experienced teams winning over the debutante teams. Team Athena and Team Xena, both led by some Lady Volcanoes players, won over the university teams in their round robin games. QCPU Lady Questors and UMAK Lady Herons gave good fights but it was the experience in playing rugby 7s that spelled the difference for these teams. At the end of the round games, it was Team Xena who ranked first by beating Team Athena 17-0. In a tightly contested match, UMAK beat QCPU 5-0, making them 3rd ranked going into the finals.
In the Bowl finals, CBRE Maverick Vipers team B proved too strong for their younger counterparts and claimed the gold by winning 19 – 0 over QCPU Team B. Clark Jets, who are all former Bahay Bata orphanage players, easily won over Globe Blues 26-0 to claim the bronze medal. These kids, who are mostly 14 to 18 years old, defeated their bigger and older opponents with their superb speed and excellent teamwork.
Rivals UMAK and QCPU team A faced off in the Plate finals after beating their opponents in contrasting fashion in the semis. UMAK cruised past Globe Classics 27-10, to gain a spot in the finals. QCPU team A had to overcome a tough and physical Globe Blacks team in the semis. QCPU team A was able to prevail over the Blacks 10-5 in another tightly-contested match. Final score for the Plate finals gold medal match was QCPU team A 19 to 5 UMAK Herons. Globe Blacks won over the Globe Classics 19-7 in the battle for bronze.
In the Women's finals, Team Athena made their presence felt early as they scored a try of a loose ball 3 minutes into the match. It was more of a defensive battle after as both teams were tackling hard to prevent each other from gaining ground. Just before the half, a gap in the defensive line of Xena opened up and gave another scoring chance for Athena. Half time score was 12-0 in favor of Athena.
Xena was able to regroup after the break and made use of their forwards to crash through defence and gain ground. Unfortunately, errors in catching the ball stopped Xena's momentum and turned things around. With seconds winding down, an interception off a pass enabled Athena to seal their win 17-0 and gave them the gold in the women's division. On the other hand, UMAK Lady Herons relied on speed and strength to win over their university rival, QCPU Lady Questors, 20-0 and capture the bronze.
The Cup finals saw last year's winners, Alabang Eagles, battle against the much-improved CBRE Maverick Vipers team A in a classic showdown. Alabang Eagles had to beat PNG debutantes Cebu Dragons 19-0 first to gain a spot in the finals. CBRE Mavericks team A had to overcome the speedsters of Nomads-CRC and beat them 10-0 to be able to face the Eagles in the finals.
The Eagles proved too strong for the Mavericks as the defending champions scored tries off crisp passing and excellent footwork. Mavericks gave their all, scoring a try from an offload from their speedy backs and another one from excellent passing on their forwards side. Both tries were converted but it wasn't enough to dethrone the defending champions. Once again, the Eagles proved to everyone why they are the best 7s team here in the country. As a result, they won the gold again with a score of 26-14. Hats off to the Mavericks for giving a really good fight.
Cebu Dragons won over the Nomads-CRC 19-7 in the bronze medal match. Not wanting to come home empty-handed, the Dragons showed no mercy and relied on their structure and awesome speed at the wings to outlast their rivals and win the bronze.
The PNG allowed the PRFU to showcase the growing sport of Rugby 7s and the Filipino athletes were extremely proud to compete to win National PSC medals. Rugby 7s is now played at the SEA, Asian and Olympic Games, and the PSC are looking to build further Rugby 7s programs to claim medals at these events.
The PRFU would like to thank the Philippine Sports Commission for inviting Rugby 7s to be a sport once again at the 2013 Philippine National Games and Nomad Sports Club for hosting the tournament.
PSC Commissioner Jose Luis "Jolly" Gomez, PSC Commissioner Salvador "Buddy" Andrada, and some of the Volcanoes Rugby World Cup team attended the PNG awards ceremony and were delighted at the level of skill, participation and sportsmanship displayed by all the Filipino teams that played in the 2013 Rugby 7s Philippine National Games tournament.
Official PNG results that are registered with the Philippine Sports Commission for 2013:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Ladies Division: Ada Milby
Men's Cup Division: Kit Guerra
Men's Plate Division: Carl Urmenita
Men's Bowl Division: Julian Feleo
Photo gallery (All action photos on this page by Mark Cristino. All team photos on this page by Chris Hettel)
Cebu Dragons revisit Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth in Argao for another Saturday filled with fun rugby. The boys in the center were very excited to see us and play touch rugby after two weeks. From the last time we visited, they have been practicing and playing on their own also in preparation for the mini tournament to be held on April.
We can really feel their interest towards the sport because even though we play in a cemented basketball court, rain or shine, the kids always end up with big smiles and happy faces after the games. After practices the kids also make an effort to entertain us and showcase their singing and dancing talents some kids can even do the beat box extraordinarily. One boy even said “Bai ato jud lingawon silang ate og kuya kai gi lingaw biya ta nila pag maau” (let’s give them a good time as they have made our day fun) Just hearing this, makes our trip worth it. Though we spent hours travelling, our efforts were never wasted.
The center has really helped the kids change for the better and we are hoping that rugby will somehow aid them in their attempt to become better people. When approached normally, each one seems to be just like a growing young boy; with talents, frustrations, emotions and dreams to fulfill. With the guidance of the staff in the center plus the added diversion of playing the sport, hopefully these boys will continue their progress to amend themselves in becoming productive citizens and future rugby players.
The Manila Nomads proved that they are the top ranked local team leading into the Manila 10s by convincingly defeating the Alabang Eagles by 33 - 19 in the Cup Final of the JML 10s league. With the series at one game each leading into the final, the Nomads came out with all guns blazing in an overwhelming first half display that saw them take a 19 point lead in the first half. Tries to Jon Morales, John Munro and Chris Anderson left the Eagles in their wake as the Nomads forwards dominated the set pieces and barreled through the Eagles defenses to set up quality ball for their backs. Coach Phil Gittus tactics of simple forward dominated rugby paid dividends and the Nomads mistake rate was minimal as the Eagles struggled to escape their own half. The return of David Carman and Tim Bweheni helped spark a short lived Eagles revival in the second half and they both scored late tries to bring the score back to a respectable level. The Nomads defeated the Eagles and retained the PRFU 10s Cup for 2013.
The Nomads defeated the Eagles in last year’s plate final at the Manila 10s tournament and have set themselves up to defend this title at next weekend’s competition.
It was fantastic to see all the local PRFU teams playing in the JML 10s finals in preparation for the 2013 Manila 10s tournament. The JML 10s finals also saw the Globe Immortals play the Makati Mavericks with the winner of this final securing the last available position at the Manila 10s. The Makati Mavericks were shouting war cries at the kick off and were then shouting victory cries at the end of the game when they ran out winners by 49 - 0.
Good luck to all the local PRFU teams and Clubs in the Manila 10s next weekend.
Ladies Division: Manila Defeats Cebu at JML PRFU 10s League Championship
Photo Credit: Nomads Sports Club
The north and south ladies teams battled for another PRFU league championship title. The Cebu Lady Dragons, who had previously won all matches against Manila, came to the pitch expecting another victory. Manila Mayhem had other plans.
The first match was evenly contested. Both teams put their bodies on the line in a grueling encounter. An ankle injury in the 5th minute ended the game early for Lady Volcano Madille Salinas, forcing Cebu coach Dean Baker to adjust their game plan. In the 7th minute, Manila scrumhalf Cassie Umali picked up a loose ball and broke through to the score line, earning the first try of the match. With a physically larger forwards pack, the Manila ladies kept most of the match on their territory, drawing the bulk of Cebu’s defence and freeing space for their backs. Lady Volcano winger Nikki Lira out-smarted Cebu defenders with a quick sidestep, scoring a swift second try.
The second half saw the Cebu team take advantage of a series of penalties by the Manila team. After a quick tap from a penalty, Cebu player Aiumi Ono scored the Southerners' first try. With the match close at 10-5, Manila ladies relied on their forwards, who pushed the ball to the attacking zone while drawing Cebu defenders. This play created a big overlap, and with quick passing from the backs, substitute winger Loujen Saldo caught the ball on the run and scored the third try in between the posts. The first game ended with a score of 15-5 in favor of Manila.
Photo Credit: Cebu Lady Dragons
The second match saw stronger defence from both ladies teams. With the added pressure of needing to win against Manila by more than 10 points, the Cebu team relied on the strength of their forwards to defend their territory. However, a ruck on the 5 metre line gave a quick ball to Manila's backs and allowed the Manila team to score their first try of the second match. Inside Center Stephie Harringer crashed through Cebu defence after a quick pass from Lady Volcano Acee San Juan. A pop pass from Lady Volcano legend Arlene Trinkler to Rose dela Cruz then won Manila their second try and earned the team a 10-to-nil lead by halftime.
The second half exhibited a series of good tackles from both teams. The Cebu team again capitalized on infractions by Manila's players. After a prolonged phase on the 5 metre line, Cebu newbie Ica Astentista picked the ball from the ruck and dove over the line to score Cebu's first try. The last 5 minutes saw more quality tackling, particularly from Manila's Aye Honoras and Cebu's Cherry Manaug. Cebu Lady Volcano Luisa Jordan managed to break through Manila's defensive lines several times and was consistently able to draw at least two defenders with each attempt. Ending the match, another quick ball from the backs gave Nikki Lira the change to score Manila's third try. The second game ended with a final score of 17-5 in favor of Manila, and Most Valuable Player for the ladies division was later awarded to Manila fly half, Acee San Juan, and Cebu lock, Cherry Manaug.
It was two tough matches, but both teams demonstrated a much-improved brand of women’s rugby in the Philippines. These matches served as a tryout for the ladies who hope to be included in the National Women’s 15s and 7s teams
Falcons win Bowl Championship; Ibons clinch Plate Championship
Falcons (Bowl Champions)
The Falcons started the day with an easy friendly against the Vipers in the Bowl division. The Falcons, with minimal experience in the game play of rugby, still had the edge over the Vipers. Their flair in passing and precision running resulted in a 22 – 0 victory over the Vipers.
The Hapons played a tough and expansive game plan in the first half, running the Falcons from side to side, but their effort was matched with the tough defence of the Falcons. The Falcons utilized their more experienced and seasoned players, which was evident in the second half of the game. The strong running of the PNG players broke tackles and left the Hapons’ defence wanting. The Falcons beat the Hapons 17-0. With this win, the Falcons were crowned the Bowl Champions.
Alabang Ibons (Plate Champions)
Captain Chris Hettel led the Ibons through a tough and exciting game against the Carabaos. It was necessary for the Ibons to beat the Carabaos with 18 or more points to walk away the victors in the Plate division. With the Ibons under pressure even before the game started, the Carabaos were the clear favourites for this epic show down. The Carabaos displayed their strength and scored the first try of the game. With an unsuccessful conversion, they lead 5-0 in the first 5 min of the game. The Ibons answered with hardened defence which led to Nixon ripping the ball in a tackle. Scoring between the uprights, they left the Carabaos puzzled.
With the score now at 7-5, Ibons captain had a hard talk with his team. His encouraging words were evident and the Ibons scored next with some good backline play. Running the ball from within their own half, they scored in the right side corner. With an unsuccessful conversion, the score was 12-5. Captain Chris Hettel stepped up in the forwards with some good strong running, putting the Ibons on the front foot in attack. With the backs receiving good ball, they scored again just before half time and took the lead 19-5.
The second half was all about which team was the fittest. The strength of the Carabaos’ forwards, just could not keep up with the Ibons agile and speedy forwards. It was soon evident that the Ibons would walk away with a victory. When they scored the first try only a few minutes into the second half, the score was 24-5. It was not long after and they scored another try bringing the score to 29-5. The Carabaos manned up in defence but it was too little too late and the Ibons walked away with a victory of 29-5. The Ibons’ 24 point lead victory, guaranteed them as the Plate division victors, earning them the spoils of this exciting and courageous performance of rugby.
The Cebu Dragons hosted a Junior’s touch rugby tournament at the Cebu International School on June 2. The event had up to 60 players aged between 8 – 15 attend the fun event which took place before the JML 15s Men’s game and the Women’s International fixture.
Newly employed PRFU development officers, Rose Lanticse and Aiumi Ono organised the Junior’s event and invited all the new clubs with whom they have started Juniors programs to come out and show their talents. The children thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play in the tournament and for most of them it was their first experience playing in a competition for Touch Rugby.
In the end, it was the Cebu International School team that won the tournament after which the children were entertained by a Sinulog Dance Troupe from the University of Cebu.
Simon Hoyle, the President of VISMIN Rugby, was impressed with the Junior’s tournament and stated that “Rugby is alive and well in Cebu and it won’t be long before the junior players come through the ranks and start playing for the Cebu men’s and women's Dragon teams. It is also a privilege to host our first International Game here and VISMIN Rugby look forward to hosting more International Rugby Matches in Cebu.”
More information on VISMIN Rugby can be found at www.pitchero.com/clubs/cebu/ , on their official Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Cebu-Dragons-Rugby-Club and official Twitter account www.twitter.com/CebuRugby
The Alabang Eagles travelled to Cebu this past weekend to support the Women’s International match and play their Cup round against the Cebu Dragons. The Eagles who were coming off a loss to Nomads, had to defeat the Dragons in order to cement a place in the JML 15s League finals.
The Cebu Dragons had a positive start to the game and pressured the Eagles from the kick off, this resulted in the Eagles giving away a simple penalty in front of the posts and Jerry Branzuela stepped to slot the Dragons first points. Unfortunately this would be the last points the Dragons would score until late in
the game as the Alabang Eagles took full control of the game and piled on 90 unanswered points to send a strong signal to the Nomads that the Eagles are ready for the JML 15s Finals. The speedy Eagles backline were in dominant form as they piled on 14 tries and seemed to run at will with Captain Tim Bweheni consistently making inroads into the Dragons defence. Young gun Tim Smith who played for the Philippine National u16s last year converted 13 shots to rake up 26 solo points and is a bright star for future National underage teams.
Under coach and player Dan Moutin, the Eagles forwards played with more discipline and Veve Apolosa was hard to stop as he charged into the Dragons forwards and also made several blockbusting tackles to create turnovers.
The Dragons tried to combat the Eagles onslaught but were unable to keep possession for more than three phases and struggled in the set pieces as the Eagles larger forwards applied constant pressure at every scrum and lineout.
Dragons Captains Noel Flowers and Jerry Branzuela kept rallying the Dragons players to fight until the end and newcomer backs Dean Bates and Tony Tualo from New Zealand showed signs that the Dragons can rebuild from this loss in their first outing in Cebu. The Dragons Captains frustration boiled over and both players were out on their feet by the end of the game.
The Final score was Eagles 90 Cebu Dragons 8 and the Eagles will now meet the Manila Nomads in the JML 15s Cup Finals to be played at the Eagles new home field in Silangan next Saturday June 9th. The finals will feature the three Men’s divisions, Cup, Plate and Bowl. The Women’s Division will rest as they prepare to play in the Asian Women’s Division 2 Championships against Laos, Singapore and Thailand in Manila on June 14 and 16th.
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