Asian 5 Nations 2014: Philippine Volcanoes vs Japan Brave Blossoms and when the scoreboard doesn’t even matter at all

Hot and humid. It was 34 degrees and the sun was just relentless. Heat & exhaustion can easily nauseate you if you’re not used to this kind of weather in the Philippines. And despite all of this, there in the middle of the Southern Plains Football Field, you’ll find the Philippine Volcanoes, our national Rugby Union squad, lined up & ready to face Asia’s top team, the Brave Blossoms of Japan.

A few minutes into the game, we looked into the score board, 7-3 in favor for the visitors. Yes Japan was leading but the meager Filipino crowd still cheered on after team captain Oliver Saunders slotted home a gorgeous penalty around 40 meters out. It was like manna from heaven. Yes we scored!!!

6th minute into the game, Oli’s brother, Matty Saunders saw an opportunity, picked off an awkward pass from the Japanese and just made a run for it and scored again, 8-7, Philippines now up by a point versus Japan. Conversion from Matt’s try was successful and we got 10-7. For a while there, we were on top of mighty Japan and I just couldn’t explain the feeling. I was just so happy shouting and & cheering on for the team. Well done, just well done.

I think right before the game, nobody expected the team to score against Asia’s best after the jittery opener versus Hong Kong where the Hong Kong lads blanked us out, 108-Nil. We didn’t expect the score but I for one, didn’t doubt the team. I always know they have it in them. I know they can, they just have to find out how to. 🙂

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We lost to Japan, 99-10 but who cares? Who cares we lost to them & who cares the lead didn’t last? All those Volcanoes supporters, Expats & Filipinos alike, doesn’t seem to care. They don’t seem to be bothered by the scoreline. I think what really matters is that we got into the scoreboard and for a while there, the team shone & gave us a glimpse of what could have been if both 15s and 7s were given equal opportunity in funding, preparation, camp, training, and everything else by the Union. And that reminded us why we need not to waver and get tired of supporting this team. When all else fails, the team can only count on us, the 16th man, to get behind them and cheer them on.

I’m on the verge of ranting again, really. But no… Don’t you go barging the dark side again. I’m pretty sure I share that same level of frustration with some friends in the Rugby community. I take comfort in that and in the hopes that somehow, in the near future, everything will change for the better and for the benefit of the team. So, let’s just leave the ranting to another post and just relive the fun moments last saturday! 😀

This trip and game watching almost didn’t materialized after we found out that all games will be held in Southern Plains in Laguna and not in University of Makati as originally planned by the Union. But thanks to my good friend Nikki, former Liaison Officer for Chinese Taipei (Under 20s) and Sri Lanka, who came all the way from Singapore, we were able to rent a van to take us to Laguna. She is the coolest really! And we really miss her, more than a year away from the Philippines, she spent 2013 in Singapore.

Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!
Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!

 

Then a few weeks before the game versus Japan, Junnel, former PRFU Administrative Officer and a good friend of mine informed me that a certain “Volcanoe” is in distress upon knowing that the games will not be held in University of Makati but in the far-flung Southern Plains. “They need a ride..” Junnel said. So I said yes (just cause, I couldn’t say no to any Volcanoe who needs my help)! :)))

lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!
lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!

Meet Joshua Tolentino, Rugby player who is currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He tried out for the team year 2012 and stayed for the camp but unlucky he wasn’t able to make the cut. Though he never got capped for the Philippines, he remained close to the team and has been keeping tabs on the team’s progress. So needless to say, I’m glad I was able to reunite Josh with his Volcanoes family. I can see & feel he misses the team and really wants to get back to play again. Perhaps in the near future, he’s only 26, still young and can still try out. Hell we have Lolo Austin Dacanay in the team who’s 37 so really, nobody’s too old for any sport!

But right now, Josh is enjoying the moment with his wife. They’re newly weds! Just a week old in marriage and they found themselves in the Philippines watching games and about to go on vacationing La Boracay style! :))) Congratulations to this lovely couple! Cheers to more years of wedded bliss! 🙂

Of course I wouldn’t pass up the chance of taking pictures of the game. It became rare these days when I get to enjoy and indulge my love for photography so whenever there are games, I go for it. (Apologies for the lack of practice in taking shots) Here are some of the photos I got last Saturday:

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Taken right after the game. Ze lads gamely posed for the picture taking. :)))) It became pretty hard to take pictures when all the fans (mostly girls) came running to the field right after the game! XD

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Really been a while since I last capture photos like this. 🙂

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Lolo Austin… uhhhmmm… I just couldn’t figure it out what he was doing? Be like “hey guys, give us the ball and you be spared!” -LOL :)))))))

 

Scrum. Contesting the ball.
Scrum. Contesting the ball.

The Philippine Power Forwards! All those  eaten cupcakes paid off! (Yes, Lolo Austin, you..) hahahaha!

Stay up high, Japan.
Stay up high, Japan.

This picture, I got it by accident. I was holding my DSLR and accidentally pressed it while holding it up and viola! 🙂

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And here’s the team Physio for as long as I can remember, Rico!!! 🙂 He’s the go-to guy for all injury-related stuff. You can see him busy running around and tending on the team’s various injuries. There’s just no “petiks” time for this guy! And to me, he’s one of those unsung heroes behind the team who never gets mentioned and never gets any citation for doing a job well done every single tournament the team is in. He’s the hardest working Physio I know and for that Sir, I am forever grateful for all the things you’ve done for the team! Maraming maraming salamat po for taking care of them! 🙂

Also happy that I was able to take my cousin with me last Saturday (2nd girl from the left). She had a blast and enjoyed the day! It was Jae’s first time to watch Rugby 15s live and I am totally happy to have shared that experience with her. 🙂

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and lastly… t’was odd… I find this awesome! :)) awesome that a guy as big as him (#1) made it into the National Team! Buff and chiseled bodies be damned but he can bulldoze opponents in a heart beat! :))) i am so proud! guess you need not to be “model size” to get to play Rugby! and we both play the same position! Prop! :))))) –> can somebody get me the name of this player?! :))

It was a fun day indeed. And really happy to be reunited with the team! Despite what happened before the Japan game (between me and the PRFU Admin and it’ll be reserved to another post), I will never get tired of supporting the Philippine Volcanoes who’ve become a second family to me through the years of doing volunteer work for the Union. They are family, period. And I can always look beyond the score board. Guess you can say, my love for the team and the sport is greater than those numbers & those stats. And like the famous saying in Hawaii –> Family is Ohana.. and Ohana means nobody gets left behind! Walang iwanan, I promise! 🙂

**Please guys if you have time, we still have one home game on May 24th in Southern Plains, Laguna versus South Korea. Please be there and get behind the Philippine Volcanoes! Game kicks off 3:30pm.**

So until the next great Rugby Adventure! 🙂

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy.

 

 

 

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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

lolo austin

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! : )

Asian Rugby Junior Division 2 Championships in the Philippines!

Asian Rugby Junior Division 2 Championships next week! And Philippines is hosting the event! Be there and catch the Rugby action on Dec 14 and 17, 3pm at Rizal Memorial Stadium! ADMISSION IS FREE!

yes my friends, ITS TOTALLY, NO STRINGS ATTACHED FREE! no lines to go & beat so you can get tickets, no spending huge amount of money whatsoever. all you need to do is head down to Rizal Stadium on Dec 14 and 17 and join the fun! so go & spread the word guys! give our Junior Volcanoes love! oooohhhyeaah! 😀

RESPECT. DISCIPLINE. PINOY PRIDE.

PUFC Women’s Road to Laurel Cup.. All for the love of the beautiful game.. =)

Several days and off we go to Laurel Cup 2011! woohoo!

Ask me 3 weeks ago and I wouldn’t even want to talk about the tournament. I get so stressed that I shrug off anything that might remind me of the tourney. I dreaded the day I’ll be going out of the pitch to battle it out with several stronger football teams, felt like I just can’t do it even if I’m training for a month now.

But I realized that it’s the make or break point. What’s the point of this whole training for football if I won’t compete? What’s the point of all those Saturdays that I used? What’s the point of all of these? What’s even the point of joining the club if I won’t get myself out there to play and earn wins for the team?

So, after watching the epic game of Philippine Team Azkals last sunday where they crushed, lemme repeat that, crushed Sri Lanka Brave Reds, 4-nil, I conditioned myself that at one point or another, I have to swallow fear and go play the game with the team! Pinoy ata to! Di natatakot at di umuurong sa laban! hehe.. To prep & step up for the match this sunday, me and my team started our very own version of TRAINING CAMP! woot-woot! It may not be as swag as the PHL Azkals German Training Camp and we may not be living under one roof but at least we get a CAMP, period! haha!

We started last Wednesday, June 29 during the Away game of our very own Philippine Football Team Azkals. This was our very first team bonding session and was lucky enough to get free invites from Sky Cable. Thanks to Ms. Enchie of Sky Cable marketing, we dined & watch at the posh Dillinger’s resto in Greenbelt 3, Makati. Drinks were flowing for free and we have complimentary garlic peanuts & pop corn! The game may not end on a sweet note coz its a draw between us and Sri Lanka, but at least my team get to bond!

Pasig United F.C! woot-woot!
me & my mates! =)

With my mates from Pasig United F.C! Let’s take Laurel Cup by storm, shall we?!?! 😀

with our coach! =)

Our coach dropped by Dillinger’s after work! 😀 sad though that most of the team didn’t make it. Should be fun if we’re complete.

posh ang crowd, bow!

the posh but loud crowd at Dillinger’s!

chicken wings FTW!
all done!

Chowed down chicken wings, french fries, garlic peanuts, & pop corn! oh and i downed two servings of iced tea mixed with emperador light! haha!

Ms. Enchie with mah good friend Zsazsa!

Here’s the gorgeous Ms. Enchie and my friend Zsazsa! thanks for the invite ma’am! mabuhay po kayo! 😀

KAHOLEROS!

After watching at Dillinger’s, we all went to the other far side of Greenbelt 3 to see our Kaholero friends who dined at National Sports Grill! They’re PUFC members too! 🙂 After meeting them, we went to Gerry’s Grill, Glorietta 5 to dine for dinner. Over dinner, we all talked about the game, all our plans for the team, and what to do on Laurel Cup. All the talking and the dinner ended our first ever bonding session. 🙂

2 days fast forward and we embark on the next phase: Tune-up/test match with Philippine College of Aeronautics Futsal team. Last saturday we owned the RHS field as we battle it out with the PHILSCA team. Was just sad I couldn’t share pictures (coz I don’t have any). Total of 3 matches and it ended with a draw, 1-1. I was actually thinking we’re gonna loose that game but hell-yeah no, a win was better but I’m elated with a draw. At least we didn’t get stomped on our home field! Good job ladies! 😀

After the intense tune-up game with PHILSCA, we readied ourselves for the main event of the week: WORLD CUP QUALIFYING MATCH!!! Philippine Azkals vs. Sri Lanka Brave Reds at Rizal Stadium. This is the home game so everyone’s excited and all ready to cheer Azkals loud and proud. Me and Zsazsa already have our tickets and on the last minute, PUFC team were able to get tickets for the white bleachers and lucky them, they cheered with the Kaholeros! True, we’re seated in different places but the beautiful game united all of us, not just me & PUFC team, but the country! it just amazes me how one game can unite all people coming from different lives, just amazing..

rain-soaked!

rained that day, not just drops but on full force! so we got all soaked up but proud to say that no one in the crowd moved, we all held our ground despite heaven’s ranting on us! good job Pinoys! nakakabilib talaga tayo! 😀

the dream team Pinas!

see those guys walking at the track? That’s our swag Philippine Team Azkals who didn’t let Sri Lanka score on home soil! good job guys! good job! These pics were taken from a Nokia phone. Professional cameras, SLRs were not allowed that day so I’m sad I wasn’t able to take proper shots with Aly. I feel handicapped without my SLR. ='( thanks to my friend Zsazsa who got her phone up and working and took all the pics that day.

our tickets!

tickets! got it last June 03. yep got that right, I booked it 1 month before the match! Tickets were sold out in a matter of minutes as in serious!

PUFC Dream Team! 😀

Oh there’s the team! We’re seated in different areas but its comforting to know that we’re cheering for one team, one country! and we all share one dream, to qualify to World Cup Brazil 2014! Photo credits goes to my friend Leslie! 🙂

After the historic World Cup qualifying match, some of my mates decided to keep ourselves busy in training in preparation for Laurel Cup. Since we’re basically on a “survive-on-your-own” status now and don’t have the resources and luxury to get enough & proper training, we looked for means and ways to get the much needed training for free and BOOM! We booked ourselves to Rugby Training session at Ultra! It was actually my idea. I needed to work on upper body strength since I play defense for the team so I figured out why not try Rugby. It’s a full-contact sport therefore upper body strength is needed. Running is also essential to the sport so that means there will be lots of running drills. And to top everything off, the training will be facilitated by no less than the Philippine Rugby Football Union which means they’ll have legit coaches training the newbies! So as planned, me and some mates from PUFC tried out Rugby last night. It was intense! Coaches were dead serious with the training so it was really really tough! My running skills were put to a test and I was forced to run 200% faster than usual. It rained before the training and the soggy soil at the Ultra football field (with holes as big as javelyn throws) wasn’t helping at all in making the training easier for us. it was just insane! After the foot drills, we went to passing. Learning to manuever the ball was just hard and I had to use all my core and arm muscles to catch and throw the ball. Then there’s punishment. Whenever we make a bad call or any mistake, it equates to sets of 10 push ups, the male version of push ups! man, that was the toughest night of training i’ve ever been to! And everything commenced into a SCRUMMAGE! yep, you got it right! if football calls the matches srimmage, for Rugby its scrummage. We’re divided into two groups composed of 15 people, after brief instruction from the coach, we do head-on collision of a Rugby game! real intense! I was immensely proud of myself that I finished the training in one piece! haha! oh and I played defender & winger for Rugby! t’was a great experience! 🙂

More than the training, it was actually bonding time for my team too! from bondings, we form chemistry which we can use while playing on the pitch. Chemistry plays an important role in the field coz if players have chemistry, they can easily read each other’s moves therefore creating a favorable game play. Last night’s session also thought us the importance of camaraderie and support to each other. In Rugby, the team moves in synch, moving like one unit so everybody should be attuned to all the members of the team.

Girl Power rules!

man, serious! PUFC girls are tough! to the core! as in!  We were able to finish the intense Rugby training in one piece! haha! proud of you ladies! good job!

My good friend and the team’s star striker Rica bebe with PHL Rugby Team Volcanoes’ Andrew Wolff! 🙂 this was our reward for a job well done on the pitch! haha! so worth it! he’s such a cutie! =P

ladies in waiting!
weee! si andrew ayun! haha!

here, we’re actually waiting for Andrew Wolff to wrap his conversation up with the PHL Rugby team head coach. The coach is quite scary! hehe..

got this new-found respect for the sports Rugby and hands down to all the athletes of PHL Rugby Team and U-23 Football Team!!! why? Ultra pitch is a BEE-OTCH!! as in! super hard to train! saludo po ako sa inyo talaga!

This has been our road to Laurel Cup! On sunday, we’ll put our game face on and go get that win! Go PUFC team!!! maniwala tayo sa goodness! we’ll win this! i believe in you guys! sipa PASIG! 🙂