The Philippine Volcanoes are bent on winning the gold in the 2017 Asia Trophy Series slated on March 3 and 4 in Doha, Qatar.
After a second place finish to Taiwan in 2016, the Philippine Rugby Team wants to best 11 other teams, including squads from Thailand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates this year.
“It was hard to swallow that we fell short last year. We want to make sure that 2017 is our year,” said Volcanoes skipper Jake Letts in an interview.
Besides Letts, the other players expected to step up for the Volcanoes are Patrice Ortiz Olivier and Tommy Kalaw Gilbert.
“Looking at the schedule, you would say that Singapore, Thailand and UAWE look to be our biggest threats. If we can perform well on the first day, the Philippines will come up against these three teams in the semis and then hopefully book a place in the final,” added Letts.
“All we can do is play each game as if it’s knockout game and execute our skills and game to the best of our ability,” he said.
The PH Volcanoes will face first Nepal and host country Qatar.
Winner of the series will qualify for the Asian Sevens Series to be held September to October this year.
The March tournament will also gauge the readiness of the national squad for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August.
Before the SEA Games, the Philippine Volcanoes will also see action in another 7s tournament in Singapore in April.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID