On August 13, 2022, six rugby teams from Luzon traveled to the South for the first leg of the 2022 Globe 7s series National Development Division rugby festival. Two pools of three teams each were composed of La Liga 2, Nomads Kalabaws, and Defending Champions Clark Jets for Pool A, and Albay Bulkans, La Liga 1, and SKF Makati Mavericks for Pool B.
Playing a total of 4 games from the single round robin, semifinals and finals matches, the SKF Makati Mavericks successfully clinched the championship with a 4-0 record after beating Clark Jets 34-7, and Manny Eduque, who also celebrated his birthday recently, was awarded as Most Valuable Player.
In a conversation with SKF Makati Mavericks captain Lito Ramirez, he shares “nakakaproud sa sarili [ang pagkapanalo ng championship] at masaya dahil natalo po namin ang defending champion ng Heritage division [Clark Jets]” (I feel proud that we won the championship and I am happy that we were able to beat the defending champions from the Heritage Division [which is Clark Jets]). On how this early win will help them for the future legs, “[kung] paano ito makakatulong sa next leg namin, siguro dapat namin dipensahan ang pagiging champion namin” (on how this win will help us in the coming legs, maybe [it will give us the motivation or drive] to defend our team’s championship).
Coming into the festival day, Albay Bulkans coach, Ric Bellen, who, along with his team, took a 12-hour land travel from Albay to Imus, Cavite for this competition shared that support from families and friends who also traveled from Albay helped their team feel motivated despite the long travel. As per Belen, “lagi kong sinasabi [sa players na] we cannot buy experience” (I always tell my players that we cannot buy experience). The opportunity of playing against other teams, should be something local teams should consider participating in as it can boost the confidence of players, especially from less-developed areas, that they can also get the opportunity to compete and play Rugby with other Filipinos from different parts of the Philippines, even at the developmental stage.
On his role as team captain, Ramirez tells us that a very crucial part of his role is to encourage and motivate his teammates to fight and believe in themselves. Bellen, on the other hand, shares that the moral and financial support from the players’ families also keep clubs going. The contribution of all the teams, organizers, sponsors, and players involved in the festival are equally important in the continuous improvement and development of the sport in the Philippines. Bella Nepomuceno, one of the commentators ended the livestream coverage sharing that “we (Rugby in the Philippines) are [still] a small community … we want to see it grow, and it takes everyone to make that happen”.
Final ranking during the NDD first leg: La Liga 2 at 6th place with 12 points, Albay Bulkans at 5th place with 13 points, Nomads Kalabaws at 4th place with 15 points, La Liga 1 at 3rd place with 17 points, Clark Jets at 2nd place with 19 points, and SKF Makati Mavericks at 1st place with 22 points to be accumulated after all three legs. Next festival will be on the 27th of August, at the Alabang Country Club, where the Women’s and Open Division will be playing for their first leg in the Globe 7s Series competition.
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