PHI Volcanoes vow to erupt on Asia Trophy Series

PHI Volcanoes vow to erupt on Asia Trophy Series
The Philippine Volcanoes grace the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum to talk about their upcoming tournament.

After a heartbreaking runner-up finish to Chinese-Taipei last year, the Philippine Volcanoes are hell bent on topping the 2017 Asia Trophy Series set March 3 and 4 in Doha, Qatar.

The winner of the Asia Trophy Series will be promoted to the more prestigious Asian Sevens Series to be played in Hong Kong, Korea, and Sri Lanka from September to October.

“Last year we fell short. It was hard to swallow. An overall second-place finish didn’t sit well with us so we want to make sure that 2017 is our year,” said Volcanoes skipper Jake Letts during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City. 

The Asia Trophy Series will also serve as an early tune-up for the Philippine Volcanoes who will try to defend the SEA Games crown in Kuala Lumpur in August. The Volcanoes are also looking at another Rugby 7s tournament in Singapore in April. 

In Doha, the Volcanoes will be ranged against 11 other teams, including those from Thailand, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, giving the Philippine squad the chance to gauge its SEA Games counterparts. 

Also gracing the forum were Volcanoes key players Tommy Gilbert, who is based in Australia, Robert Jones, who hails from Canada, and Edlen Hernandez from San Diego.

Expected to carry the brunt for the Volcanoes in the upcoming tournaments are Patrice Ortiz Olivier and the exciting Tommy Kalaw Gilbert. 

As the top team in their pool, the Volcanoes, made up of players with Filipino blood, will be pitted against Nepal and the home team from Qatar in the first day of competition. 

The top four teams after the pool matches will make it to the medal round.

The Volcanoes are on the rise and have drawn major backers in Globe Telecom and the Philippine Sports Commission. 

“We are hoping to repay the faith (of our sponsors) and go one better this year,” said Letts.

“Looking at the schedule, you would say that Singapore, Thailand and the UAE 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,” said the Australia-based Letts.

But it doesn’t mean that the Volcanoes are taking the other teams lightly because Rugby 7s is “very unpredictable.” 

“All we can do is play each game as if it’s a knockout (match) and execute our skills and game to the best of our ability,” said Letts.

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