The Alabang Eagles Rugby Club proved once again they are the best 7s team in the country. After they made history as Philippine National Games Rugby 7s inaugural champions last June, the Eagles won the Cup finals in the PRFU Head & Shoulders 7s League last October 26, 2013 at Nomads Sports Club.
Led by Volcano player Tim Bweheni and National Development Team player Jovic Paypon, they beat a gutsy Cebu Dragons side 24-0. The boys from Alabang showed a combination of speed and strength plus awesome teamwork. The Dragons, led by former Volcano Noel Flowers, fought hard until the last second but failed to answer the Eagles' attacks. Great job to both teams for this hard-fought and exciting finals match. Finals MVP was awarded to Jovic Paypon.
In the Plate finals, it was the Alabang Ibons who ran away with the trophy with a convincing win 38-0 over the Manila Hapons. Former Volcano David Carman led the Ibons' attack while teammate Johnny Leo scored the tries by using his stepping skills and superb speed. Leo was later awarded the MVP of the finals match.
The Bowl finals saw a David vs Goliath matchup between the Falcons and the Clark Rugby Club Boys. The CRC boys, despite the disadvantage in height, showed everyone why 7s rugby is a game of speed. With Falcons leading most of the game, the CRC boys almost made a comeback with their 2 hard-earned tries in the last few minutes. Full time and score ended with a 21-12 Falcons win over CRC. For his outstanding effort and never-give-up attitude, CRC's Michael Maralas was named the finals MVP.
Cebu Lady Dragons captured the Women's division 7s crown with a 26-0 win over rival Manila Mayhem. Finals MVP Aiumi Ono, led the Lady Dragons' attack during the finals game. Manila Mayhem gave a good fight despite the absence due to injuries of 3 of their key players. Great job to both teams and congratulations to the Cebu Lady Dragons for a well-deserved win.
This finals match was the Lady Dragons' tribute game to their long-time captain, Ono, who is set to leave for Japan in a few weeks. She is one of the pioneers of the Lady Volcanoes 7s and 15s squad and a PRFU Regional Development Officer. PRFU wishes miss Aiumi Ono best of luck. The union highly-appreciates her contributions to the development of the grassroots program in the country.
No team photo:
Manila Nomads (Cup)
Makati Mavericks (Plate)
UMAK Questors (Bowl)
Clark Rugby Club (Bowl)
The Manila Nomads proved once again that they are the reigning 15s Rugby team in the Philippines with a close win over the Alabang Eagles in the Fila 15s Cup division final last June 22. Nomads relied on their bigger forwards, their aggressive pick and drive style of play, and rolling mauls to gain territory. The younger Eagles took advantage of the experience of several Volcanoes players on their backs line. Tim Bweheni, Robert Jones, and Adam Clarke suited up for the Eagles for this very important match.
Nomads skipper and Volcanoes player, David Feeney, started the scoring with a pick and drive off the 5 meter line. Fly half Danny Williams converted the try to add cushion to the Nomads lead. Eagles responded instantly with a counter attack from a kick off. Jones outpaced several defenders and scored a try for the Eagles. As the try wasn’t converted, the score remained at 7-5 by the half.
After the break, Nomads were on the board again with a try by Williams. Conversion was unsuccessful but they were up by 7 points. An Adam Clarke try made the score even at 12-all. With the Cup championship on the line, both teams tightened up their defensive line and tried to outmuscle their way to gain territory. A successful penalty kick by Williams gave the Nomads a slim lead in the last 20 minutes of play. It was a defensive battle from there, as both teams tackled hard and forced a series of turnovers. Eagles were able to sneak in a try to take the lead for the first time in the match. Their try was converted for a score of 17-15 to the Eagles. Nomads turned to their experienced forwards pack for control over the last minutes of the match. A rolling maul from a lineout gave MVP Paul Retzlaff a chance to steal the match from the Eagles. Retzlaff scored a try and Williams converted it, sealing the win for the defending champions at 22-17.
Ladies Division: Manila Defeats Cebu at PRFU FILA 15s League Championship
The north and south ladies teams battled for another PRFU league championship title. The Cebu Lady Dragons, who won last year’s 15s match against Manila Mayhem, came to the field ready to defend their title. The Manila Mayhem, who won the 10s league championship against the southerners last March, were up for the challenge.
With both teams having at least 8 rookies– and missing a few key players on the lineup– it was an evenly matched game from the start. The match started off very physical, as both sides tackled hard to prevent each other from gaining ground. The Lady Dragons showed quality passing, which enabled them to swing the ball from side to side. In contrast, Mayhem demonstrated their forwards’ strength by creating a solid defense and coming up fast off the line. Mayhem opened up the scoring with a quick ball to the backs on the 5 meter line. Fullback Loujen Saldo found a gap and dove for the try. The Lady Dragons answered back with a blind side play off the scrum. After quickly picking up the ball, Number 8, Tonette Gambito, sped straight towards the line, outrunning Mayhem’s winger. Try was converted and the Lady Dragons were up 7-5.
Cebu Lady Dragons
Substitute player Lima, an 18 year old Papua New Guinean player from Cebu, made her presence felt early as she broke through several tackles and popped the ball to their speedy captain, Aiumi Ono. Ono then crossed the line and her try was converted. After a short regroup, Mayhem girls came back with two quick tries before the half. Mayhem’s forwards worked hard to draw defenders, creating scoring opportunities for their speedy backs. Ada Milby bulldozed her way to the line, while Nikki Lira scored a try between the posts after a quick pass from the backs.
The second half saw stronger defence and more aggression from both ladies teams. A yellow card was given to Lima of Cebu, which resulted to a penalty try for Manila Santos of Mayhem. Try was converted, bringing Mayhem up 22-14. Another yellow card from a high tackle resulted to Lira sitting out for a few minutes. The Lady Dragons were not able to take advantage of the overlap and remained unable to score on several opportunities. A loose ball from a broken play resulted to a breakaway try by Saldo. This sealed the win at 29-14 for Manila Mayhem, and Loujen Saldo was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Women’s Division.
Plate Division: Ibons Dominate Globe at PRFU FILA 15s League Championship
It was a tough battle for the much improved Globe Immortals as they played against an Alabang Ibons team composed mostly of speedy Papua New Guinean players. The Immortals, who were able to secure a spot in the finals by beating rival Maverick Vipers, were outran several times by the PNG players. The first 10 minutes looked promising as the Immortals held their ground and contained their speedy opponents. It was a physical match, but the local boys were able to gain yards and match up to the strength of their opponents. Fitness and experience spelled the difference as the Ibons finally out-muscled their opponents and swung the ball to their swift-running backs. A series of runaway tries gave momentum to the Ibons and disheartened the Immortals. A bad cut above the eye forced Immortals skipper and Volcano player, Jay Coronel, to be pulled out of the game, much to his team’s dismay. David Brissonnaud, Immortals’ inside-center, managed to put in a penalty kick, making the score 19-3 at the half.Globe Immortals
The second half was still an all-Ibons show as their PNG players scored try after try. Coronel was unable to return to the field because of the cut sustained in the first half. The match ended at 62-3 with Chris Karo, a PNG player, being awarded the MVP. It was a tough loss for the Immortals, but this match gave them the experience they needed to compete in 15s rugby.
Bowl Division: Clark Rugby Club Come From Behind to Beat QCPU and Win the Bowl ChampionshipQuezon City Polytechnic University
Clark Rugby Club made the biggest comeback in the PRFU Fila 15s League as they snuck up from behind to beat the QCPU Questors 24-22. QCPU started the scoring feast in the first half with quick passing and overall speed. They scored four unanswered tries with one conversion. Down 22-nil at the half, the CRC boys regrouped and relied on experience to crawl back from the huge deficit. A series of penalties in the ruck after the half gave CRC several scoring opportunities which they quickly took advantage of. Joe Mari Rauras started the scoring spree for CRC. They followed their structure by giving the ball to their forwards, allowing them to draw defenders, cause overlaps, and quickly swing the ball to the backs. True to the formula, they scored four tries and successfully converted twice. The last try came seconds before the end of the match. When the whistle was blown, CRC boys erupted in cheers while the QCPU boys stood in disbelief. It was a great win for the CRC boys, who showed everyone that no one gives up in the game of Rugby. It was a lesson learned for the QCPU boys: The match is never finished until the referee blows his whistle.
Thank you to all the teams who participated in this year’s Fila 15s League. Congratulations to all the champion teams. Next League games will be in August for 7s Rugby.
Cup MVP – Paul Retzlaff
Women’s MVP – Loujen Saldo
Plate MVP – Chris Karo
Bowl MVP – Jonel Madrona
Philippine National Games 2013 Rugby 7s
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)
Tournament Report – ALCU Games
The Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU) Games were held last Monday, March 4, 2013, at Dizon National High School in San Pablo, Laguna. This tournament marked the second time Touch Rugby was included in the association's calendar sports. Two women's teams, three men's teams, and four mixed teams competed for the champion title in their respective divisions.
photo credit: US NCA
In the ladies exhibition matches, rivals University of Makati (UMAK) Herons and Quezon City Polytechnic University (QCPU) Questors battled it out for the women’s title. The first game saw the Herons, led by Rugby Sevens Development player Loujen Saldo, win by a single point for a final score of 2-1. The Questors gave their all in the second game, aiming to force a winner-take-all third match. It was a close round, but a breakaway by Herons winger Cha Bolando in the penultimate minute scored the winning try. The Herons ended the match with another 2-1 lead against the Questors, and Cha Bolando was awarded Most Valuable Player for the Ladies Division.
photo credit: US NCA
The men's division finals match was the highlight of the tournament, as UMAK Herons and QCPU Questors battled for the league supremacy. The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) team fought hard on all their games but were ultimately bested by the other teams' experience. UMAK Herons, led by National Team Under 18s players Chester Anin and Raphael Ordoñez, were poised to defend their title, but QCPU Questors had other plans. Driving hard through UMAK's defensive wall, QCPU scored repeatedly by passing the ball out wide to speedy wingers. The Herons had difficulty adjusting to the Questors' pace and were unable to match the skill level. In the end, the QCPU Questors took the men's crown with a 4-0 sweep.
photo credit: US NCA
The mixed division saw a total of four teams: two each from UMAK and QCPU. UMAK A and QCPU A ended the pool games with a draw on their first encounter. They later faced each other again in the finals round. With accurate passing, speed, and stamina, QCPU A won by a final score of 4-2 against UMAK A, taking the title of mixed division champion.
This tournament continued to adhere to Rugby's new “set and rip” rule. Traditionally, players put the ball on the ground and stepped over it upon being touched. Under the new rule, players had to turn their back to the opposition and present the ball to their teammates, who, in turn, had to rip the ball from touched player. This variation is more consistent with the rules of full contact rugby. All teams were able to adjust to the new rule and played fun, high-level games throughout the day.
ALCU Games is an annual event. PRFU's goal is to include the other member schools in the Rugby division in the future.
The Globe 7s League kicked off on Saturday, August 4 at the Southern Plains Rugby Field. The new expanded tournament saw the inclusion of 15 men’s teams and 3 Women’s team with University of Makati (UMAK) and Quezon City Polytechnic University (QCPU) as the newest additions to the league.
The PRFU have been running Rugby development programs at both Universities since late 2011. After introducing Touch Rugby at the early stages of the program, the students of UMAK and QCPU graduated to playing 7s Rugby and have now stepped up into the Globe 7s League to play in the Bowl competition. Earlier this year the PRFU introduced 7s Touch Rugby at the ALCU University games and it is envisaged that the PRFU will start a University 7s League in 2013.
In wet conditions the Bowl teams started the day with the Tarsiers, UMAK, QCPU, Ibons and the Clark Rugby Club all travelling to the Southern Plains Rugby Club to start the new Globe 7 series that will run in two leagues until the end of October 2012.
The Clark Rugby Club, who were Silver Medal winners from the Philippine National Games, showed that they will again be a force to reckon with in the 7s arena and won their first two games finally losing their third game in a close battle to Bowl Favorites the Ibons.
One of the best games of the day was played between the two University teams, with the University of Makati winning the inaugural university challenge by 17 – 10 and also claiming the Bowl Division “Hardy’s Team of the Day" award.
The Plate Division was divided into two pools of 4 teams while the Women’s teams of Xena and Nomads played three games over the afternoon. The Men’s games saw the new team from the Eagles RFC, the Falcons, make an immediate impact at this level of competition. A second team, the Flamingos, was also formed on the day composed mostly of students from Adamson University who hail from Papua New Guinea.
The Eagles were the strongest team on the day with the Hapons and CBRE Mavericks playing out the closest game in the Plate Division with the Mavericks eventually winning the arm wrestle 7 – 5. The Women finished the day in very wet conditions with an exhilarating 0 – 0 draw the last round of games had to postponed as the heavens opened.
The second round of the Globe 7s League is on Saturday, August 18 at the Southern Plains Field, Silangan, Laguna.
Full list of the Globe 7s League Round 1 results.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge. All photos by Mark Cristino
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