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)
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