MANILA, Philippines – Although out of the Rio Olympics, the Philippine Volcanoes still gear up for a busy slate in 2016 with their 15s, 7s, women’s and youth teams all set to see action in various international tourneys.
November 2015: The Philippine Rugby Football Union has reached a milestone as Lito Ramirez, the first player from the Union’s grassroots program, was selected to be part of the Philippine Volcanoes National Men’s Rugby Sevens team that is set to compete this weekend in the Asian Rugby 7s Qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Since its inception, the PRFU’s mission has been to develop the sport of Rugby in the Philippines, to be played by Filipinos. One of its first grassroots programs was with charitable foundations such as Bahay Bata, Tuloy Foundation, Child Hope, SOS Children’s Villages and Duyan ni Maria Orphanage.
Lito learned his Rugby skills at the Tuloy Foundation in Muntinlupa, a haven built by the efforts of Fr. Rocky Evangelista, that provides hundreds of underprivileged, abandoned and homeless children the opportunity to learn academics and sports in a safe and caring environment.
He was only 13 when he was first introduced to the sport of Rugby Union seven years ago. His inherent speed, agility, ball handling skills and ability to work with a team made him a natural fit for the game of Sevens Rugby. Lito was then selected to represent the Philippines in the National U-16 team and continued to learn and play the sport with the goal of one day becoming a Volcano. He then went on to play for the Philippine National u18s and represented the National Men’s Development team in 2014.
Lito was also part of the Clark Jets team which swept all their matches to bag the Gold Medal at the 2015 Philippine National Games. It was at these games that Lito won his spot in the Philippine Volcanoes Men’s 7s training squad. Coming from an underprivileged background has given Lito the life experiences and determination to never give up—a trait that has now paid dividends, as evidenced by his inclusion in the Men’s 7s National Team.
The Volcanoes will face some tough opposition this weekend when they face Malaysia, Hong Kong and Iran on Saturday and then come up against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
The top team at the end the Olympic Qualifications will get an outright spot, while the next three teams win the right to move onto the World Repechage for a chance to make the final 12 teams that will compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Regardless of what this weekend’s results will be, Lito Ramirez’s achievement proves to other young Filipino athletes that with hard work, anything is possible and sport is a great way to achieve skills for success, both on and off the field.
The U19 Philippine Volcanoes, the national rugby team, finished the year on a high after defeating the Hong Kong Junior Warriors, 49-0, over the weekend to lift the annual 2015 First Pacific Cup.
Commonly known as the Junior Volcanoes, the national team overcame horrid typhoon conditions on Saturday to outplay and out skill the touring Hong Kong team, scoring an unanswered six tries in the opening half.
Key players for the Philippines were team captains Robert Villaluz McCafferty and Rhys Jacob Mackley along with outside back Dan O’Rielly. Hamish RoxasMcWilliam also secured a hat trick of tries proving to be too strong for the opposition.
“The U19s national team is a platform for our next batch of future Volcanoes, this program helps develop and identify the next generation of elite athletes. It provides a pathway so our men’s national team can continue to be successful on the world stage,” said assistant coach and current Philippine Volcano Jake Letts.
Letts said the coaching staff identified up to two players that will most likely get to graduate to the Men’s program as early as next year.
The Philippine development team, however, lost to the Hong Kong Senior Warriors, 13-0, three days later to finish its Hong Kong stint with an even 1-1 win-loss card.
Read more at: http://sports.tempo.com.ph/2015/12/31/u19-ph-volcanoes-maul-hk/
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