The Philippine Residents 15 bested the Sabah Eagles, 25-19, in the 2016 Transcom Plate at the Southern Plains Field in Calamba, Laguna on Sunday.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the Sabah Eagles took the early advantage after scoring a try and a conversion goal, 0-7.
Sosiveta Rura Boila scored for the Philippine Residents to reach Sabah’s in-goal zone in the sixth-minute mark, 5-7. Masayuki Sekiguchi then tallied another try after five minutes, 10-7.
Philippines’ Timothy Bweheni sustained the momentum in the 16th-minute mark, adding five more points for his try, 15-7. Jackson Pato successfully scored a conversion goal on the third try, extending the lead to 10, 17-7.
“The action was hard and heavy right from the start. Both teams were very physical, very committed and on the edge of the day, we got to measure on the game because we’re more disciplined in our structures and we attadQ•d very well and we kept the pressure on them,” said Philippine Resident XV head coach David Johnston.
Sabah Eagle Joseph Gordon contributed seven points to his team for his try and conversion goal, breaking the silence early in the second half to cut the lead to three, 17-14.
In the 68th-minute mark, Pato tallied a penalty goal 25 meters away from the goal post, 20-14. Justine Coveney created some breathing space for the Philippines and scored a try on the left side of the goal post, off a scrum, 25-14. However, Pato’s attempt for a conversion goal went wide in the 69th minute of the match.
Badrul Musae Muktee stopped the bleeding for Sabah after touching the in-goal line of the Philippines in the 74th minute, 25-19.
Boila was awarded as the Most Valuable Player of the match, while Philippine Residents XV captain Jake Letts received the championship trophy.
The Philippine Residents is composed of players from the Alabang Eagles, Manila Nomads, Clark Jets, CBRE Makati Mavericks, Makati Chiefs, and some members of the Philippine Volcanoes.
“The whole idea behind this is the pathway to the Volcanoes for national representation so there are many players here that put their hand up today for an opportunity to go to the camp to battle for positions for next year’s Asian Championships. So we’re happy that the fact that we had a very very tough contest to play and very pleased that a lot of guys performed well and after to get an opportunity to be invited in the camp next April,” Johnston added.
The Philippine Volcanoes will battle teams from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates for the Division 1 title in the Asia Rugby Championships in April 2017.
Meanwhile, the Sabah Rugby Team will compete in the quarterfinals of the King’s Cup next week. “But this year, we had two games plus this one today, which is good for us. That should put us in good seat for next week,” said Sabah Eagles head coach Brad Mika.