Four local Philippine teams, the Cavite Tigers, Manila-Clark Gladiators, Manila Storm and the North Luzon Hunters will contest the 2023 Ragbi Liga season.
Round 1 of the season commenced on the 30th April at the Bulacan Sports Complex with Round 2 played on the same ground on the 7th May.
The Philippines Ragbi Liga season is split between two periods in 2023 with many of the local players also playing for local Rugby Union clubs.
The first period of the season will be played between April to June, then a break for the Rugby Union season. With the second period of the season recommencing in October.
Round 1 was played on a “normal” hot summer afternoon at the Bulacan Sports Complex. A showdown between the veteran Manila Storm and the defending Philippines champion, North Luzon Hunters.
The kickoff started with the Hunters as the receiver. Both sides began sizing each other up with strong defence but it didn’t take long for the Storms to take the lead. With the first try scored by Sean Rasing.
The Storms were on fire, as they continued their scoring streak with two more tries before the Hunters answered back through a Lloyd Vargas’ try. The Hunters comeback was short lived, with the Storms touching down for 3 more tries, extending their lead in the first half, finishing with a large gap scoreline of 28 – 6.
The 2nd half start was no different to the first. The Storm started strong with 3 more consecutive tries, piling up the pressure on the defending champions.
The Hunters didn’t falter, as they came back with 3 consecutive tries converting 2 to minimize the gap.
The Storm, as the veteran team did not disappoint. After reconsolidating, they finished strong with 3 more tries with a final score of 54 – 22 ending the game.
Round 2 Was another hot summer Sunday at the Bulacan Sports Complex, culminating in a battle of the predators. A chance for the North Luzon Hunters to redeem their Round 1 loss up against the Cavite Tigers. With both predators not disappointing on the field of battle!
The Tigers and Hunters are not new to each other, and when they meet, it’s always a Ragbi Liga war! With the game anticipated as one of the most exciting games of the first period of the 2023 season.
The Hunters started strong and aggressive, eager to take the lead and bombarded the Tiger’s defence with constant pressure. It took them 4 close attempts to break down the Tiger’s defence. Scoring the first Try of the game.
It did not take long for the Tigers to reply. Led by their Captain Billy Cardeño, he led the team by breaking the Hunters defensive line in the middle of the park, for the Tigers to score.
The game seesawed back and forth between the predator Tigers and Hunters. With the Hunters taking the lead at the end of the first half 16 to 12.
The 2nd half started with intensity and as heated up as the first. With the Hunters aggression leading to 2 hard gained tries in 20 minutes of second half play.
The Hunters hard fought tries led to team fatigue allowing the Tigers to pounce at the opportunity. With the Tigers scoring 4 consecutive tries, taking the lead for the first time in the game.
With a seesawing match the Hunters did not falter in the final quarter of play and forced their way through the Tiger’s left side to get 3 consecutive tries to take the lead back from the Tigers.
With a few minutes remaining in the game, with a 36 – 38 score in favour of Hunters, they hammered the final nail in the coffin to finish an exciting and competitive game by scoring the final try. Ending it with a 42 – 36 score in favour of the Hunters.
Round 1 – Sunday Apr 30, 2023
Round 1 – Manila Storm v North Luzon Hunters (Bulacan Sports Complex) 58 – 22
Storm Tries – Ian Pausanos 3, Sean Rasing 2, Jan Norbin Puig 2, Julian Feiao 2, John Bernard Agunod, John Franklin Agunod, Jordan Aganllo.
Conversions – Alex Morillo 1, Jay Ramirez 1
Hunters Tries – Llyod Vargas, David Iiiaoan, Aaron Mancaop, Johnsen Lalongisip
Conversions – Llyod Vargas 2, Aaron Mancaop 1
Round 2 – Sunday May 7, 2023
Round 2 – North Luzon Hunters v Cavite Tigers (Bulacan Sports Complex) 42 – 36
Hunters Tries – Jason Paul Evans 3, Kurt 2, Lorenzo Bisaya, Roderick Luna, Jason Fabon, Kael Maniacop, Jay R. Ramirez
Conversions – Jason Fabon 1, Lorenzo Bisaya 1
Tigers Tries – Johnsen Lalong Isip 5, Billy Joe Ivan Cardeño 2, Alex Morillo
Conversions – Johnsen Lalong Isip 1, Billy Joe Ivan Cardeño 1
About the PNRL
RNPL Australia Incorporated is the Australian chain and affiliate of Pambansang Ragbi Liga Ng Pilipinas (PNRL) the governing body of Rugby League Football in the Philippines. Its mission is to enable all Filipinos to have a healthy lifestyle through their participation in Rugby League Football and to be competitive amongst the Asian Rugby League playing nations. The PNRL focus is the promotion, development, and efficient administration of Rugby League in the Philippines. The PNRL is non-profit volunteer organization, who are a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission. The Philippines is a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) and an observer member of the International Rugby League (IRL).