For the first time in three years, the U19 National Development Rugby Team, proudly sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation have defeated Hong Kong and secured the First Pacific Cup.
Prior to kick off, the National athletes saluted the national flag, honoring our national heroes. After 80 minutes battling it out on the field, the young Volcanoes became the countries newest heroes in their very own style.
The Philippines drew first blood after an intercept try to winger John Michael Donina. Donina launched off the defensive line and found open space to capture the ball midair to speed off to take the Philippines to the lead. Raphael Barberis secured the extra two points.
It wasn’t long until Hong Kong bounced back, #15 Mervyn Lo, with his quick feet and agility, broke through the Philippines defensive line to score in the 15th minute and closed the gap. The Philippines returned fire right before half time, Barberis providing support play and adding another 5 points to the Philippines tally.
The second half remained tightly contested, both teams holding strong. The Philippines continued with their defense and once again turned pressure into attack securing yet another intercept try to John Michael Aquino. The Philippines continued to show passion and grit, holding off a valiant Hong for the remainder of the game, winning 17 to 5.
“A very close match, so proud of the team for the win today, to win the first game on Friday, then win again today, very proud” shared Carlito Abono, Head Coach of the Philippines.
The international development series has been running for three years, Hong Kong winning in 2016 and 2017. A special feat to win the title in 2018 according to Jake a Letts, Philippine Rugby’s General Manager.
“I have witness rugby in the Philippines for 13 years now, to see the development of Rugby and its rise locally is amazing. Credit goes to both teams and both Unions to focus on local development.
The National Teams Program has been quite successful in 2018 for the Philippine Rugby Football Union. The union boasts a record of six wins from seven international matches for their 15s program.
“A solid start this year, very happy for our 15s program to record those statistics. It’s only just begun however, we have an intense 7s season coming up so we have our work cut out for us for the rest of the year” shared Chris Everingham, Performance Manager for Philippine Rugby
The Volcanoes will now turn to the upcoming Asia Sevens Series in September and October. Both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams to play against the top teams in Asia, starting on September 14 and 15 for the Men’s in Hong Kong and late October for the Women’s in Brunei.
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