HSBC Asian 5 Nations: Filipino fans, easily the best in the World…

I have long been arguing that I am not a fan girl but if you dissect the meaning of the word & get to the basics –> it just means people who support and I have been supporting the team and the Union in any way I can for as long as I remember so there, right there, I can finally rest and accept that I am indeed a fan girl at heart.

A week before the Volcanoes game versus United Arab Emirates, an article in gulfnews.com was published and it was an interview with the UAE Rugby Federation CEO Ian Bremner. He was asked what he thinks about the fanatical support for the Philippine Volcanoes in the home soil and here’s what he thinks about the fan support in the homeland:

Fanatical home support will be an advantage for the Philippines, but from what I’ve seen on TV it’s mostly screaming females as opposed to rugby fans. The screaming was fairly incessant and indiscriminate. No matter who had the ball it didn’t waver in any direction, so it could turn in our favour.

Read full article here: http://gulfnews.com/sport/rugby/ian-bremner-heaps-praise-on-battling-uae-1.1182399

And this, shall I say, was not taken lightly by the Volcanoes supporters and even earned the ire of some fans. I too was a little offended having been a supporter/fan of the team for as long as I can remember. To be fair to the CEO, I have met him. He may not be the nicest guy in the bunch & he was shouting at my face first meeting but I know he just wants the best for his team and he’s doing everything to help them win. Here’s my take though on what he said and for being a fan girl myself:

Mock these people and you mock the whole nation. The fans, the supporters, us. I cannot deny the fact that we have little (if none) understanding of the game of Rugby but we do everything we can to get to know the sport that have no historical ties whatsoever to the Philippines by participating to free learning sessions, watching games, and tagging along with the players be it personally or in the cyberspace. We compensate but of course I don’t really expect you to know that coz after all you are commenting on something that you know nothing about.

We love our own. Period. The team, they’re all Filipinos. Same blood running through our veins and one home land we owe our loyalty and allegiance to. Our support and love for the team is all we can give to them as a token of appreciation for all the effort, time, hard work, and passion they put in just to wear that jersey and represent this country. Coz after all they chose us, they choose to represent the Philippines.

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As per Philippine Daily Inquirer, an estimated 5,700 people have shown up at Rizal Memorial Stadium to support the Philippine Volcanoes and this just melts my heart. From empty stadium seats to this. So to all the fans and the supporters MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO! As what Jake Letts said, we truly built a fortress in Rizal. And if you’ll just check the players’ tweets, they are all in love with their fans. Here it goes;

From Jake Letts

jakey

From Darran Seeto

darran

From Matt Bellenie

matt

From Oliver Saunders

ollie

From David Feeney

david

From Michael Duhig

duhig

And of course from our proud Lolo, Austin Dacanay

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And this page wouldn’t be enough to list all the thank you messages the players sent out for their fans. It just makes your heart swell that you guys heeded the call. United and stood as one, chanting and cheering with all might, loving and supporting the team regardless of the outcome, we truly have the best and the most loyal & loving fans in the whole wide world! We all hope to see everyone again next year! Cheers to Philippine Rugby! : )

P.S. Easily, we do have the best fans in the whole wide world and cheering while getting drunk is the bomb! hahahaha!

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till the next great Rugby adventure! : )

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HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2013: Memoirs of the weekend and of the game…

Disclaimer: This is not a match report kind of blog so to those expecting to see a blow-by-blow account of the PHL Volcanoes vs UAE… you guys can visit the PRFU website: http://www.prfu.com/prfu-news.html

So I was called up again from LO retirement a few months before last week. task was i need to take over and liase for the opposing team in this last game, United Arab Emirates. Even before, I always made sure I am available whenever Philippine Rugby is in need of help hence I’ve been on-the-job trainee for PRFU for 3 years now, having handled 3 teams already: Malaysia, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), and last was UAE.

duty started Thursday afternoon (May 16), early check-in at the Century Park hotel near Rizal Memorial Stadium. We took care of the early check-in for the team, the food, and the bus then some errands at the match venue. 10pm, UAE Rugby Team arrived at NAIA 1 and the rest is, as they say.. history.

UAE is a whole lot different from the first 2 teams i’ve handled. the first 2 (Malaysia & Taiwan), were a young bunch. We have as young as 17 and the oldest is my age, 26 years old hence it was easier to mingle with them coz we are on the same age bracket, same likes, same kind of music, TV, movies, and food, a little bit easier to talk to coz there are a lot of things common to talk about. while UAE, well they’re all adult! legal age and all. so yeah, there…  its a little bit different, a bit intimidating coz most of them are half of my size & 10 years older than me. hahaha! but as days progressed, I found out that they’re pretty much one cool and very accommodating team.

UAE Rugby Team training at Rizal Memorial Football Pitch, Saturday morning. The guy wearing sunglasses, that’s the Team Manager, Brett Scott –> coolest team manager I’ve met so far with a knack of making fun of me & making me laugh. :)) Too bad I wasn’t able to get a photo of the quiet and reserved Coach of the team, Coach Duncan Hall.

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more of UAE here:

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I shared a couple of laughter moments with the team but unlucky i wasn’t able to take a photo of it! here it goes:

Laughter Moment 1:

After training at the match venue, Coach Duncan called me. Was a bit nervous walking towards him thinking if I screw up something or if there’ll be any special additional requests that is too impossible to do. so i went to the middle of the field where the team is huddled in and surprise, surprise! the reason why i was needed there was because the team captain Reinier Els will be presenting me a team jersey! And Coach Duncan said: “To those who didn’t know, this is Ms. Jannet, our Liason Officer who’s been helpful and did a great job taking care of the team so as a token of appreciation, our captain, will present her the UAE team jersey.” –> heart melted at that moment coz after the fail bus moment at the airport w/ the CEO shouting at me, they’ve appreciated all efforts i made to make their stay a little bit comfortable. but here’s the catch, the jersey is sized small for women’s and totally won’t fit me at all so I said: “Thank You! truly appreciated but I think the jersey won’t fit me but don’t you worry guys, I’ll have this framed and will hang it in my room!” and we all laughed. =)))

Laughter Moment 2:

Game time. I was all nerves. I made sure that everything in Rizal was prepared for the team. A/C at the dug out checked. water, gatorade and sacks of ice, checked. All doors including the athletes’ entrance gate, opened with security guarding it, checked. And I clearly and strictly instructed the security to KEEP ALL DOORS OPEN at all cost. But to no avail, someone locked the 2nd door in the dug out. when we arrived there, I panicked, why is the door locked?!?! nobody listens to me when I specifically gave instructions not to lock it. I was all ready to smash the door down, while calling the head LO to unlock us out of there then one of the players said: “Hey chill Jannet, relax. its fine. You want us to smash the door for you?” then another batch of guffaws and laughter again. hahahaha! =)))

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well i guess the most important lesson I learned handling this team is to always stay calm & intact regardless of the situation you are in and always remember to smile (which is by the way hard to do especially when you’re always thinking on your toes!), it makes everything a lot easier. I see all of them doing just that. On the verge of relegation and yet everyone seemed to be all calm and relaxed, staying intact and not cracking with pressure.

UAE experienced almost all kinds of bad luck here in the Philippines: we were not able to train at the match venue friday night because of this Iglesia ni Cristo event at the football field, the A/C in the room/dug out went bonkers on game day and the team had to huddle outside coz it was 40 degrees under the grandstands. They were sweating bullets which i think contributed to the loss since ball handling will be a little bit difficult if you sweat out on the ball. But the team remained calm, eager to win and was never distracted with all things coming at ’em. This is what I admire about UAE. As what Coach Duncan said, trials and tribulations, all the more makes a man stronger than he is before. =)

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all the best to this team. next year they’ll face a different set of opponents from Division 1 with Kazakhstan as the team to look out for. I told one of the players that they should ace the Division 1 then we’ll beat the crap out of Sri Lanka next year so they can go back to Top 5 and I’ll be able to see them all again. =)

Another interesting fact about United Arab Emirates Rugby Team is that there are 2 Half Filipinos playing for their team; #2 Jonathan Greenwood & #11 Malcolm Greenslade. Both their moms are Filipina but they grew up in Dubai. See, its really hard not to support and love this team coz I got 2 of my Kababayans playing for them. =)

here’s Jonny, first guy carrying the ball.

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and the guy on the left (below picture) is Malcolm.

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(photo credits for the above picture to The National/Mike Young)

And I ought to write a second post for the fans and supporter and other pictures i had last saturday. this is getting way too long as a blog! =)))) so until the next post and the next great Rugby adventure! =)