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The Philippine U19 national rugby team vies for promotion when it sees action in the 2016 U19 Asia Rugby Championships against three other countries next week at the International School of Manila.
Seeded third, the Junior Volcanoes have drawn No. 2 seed Korea as their opponent on Dec. 14 in the 5 p.m. opener, while Singapore tackles United Arab Emirates in the second game at 6:30 p.m.
Winners of both games will meet in the finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. for the right to advance in the next phase of the tournament.
Assistant coach Jake Robrigado Letts admitted in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate the task at hand would not be easy for the host country, especially since the Junior Volcanoes haven’t beaten the Sokors yet in the U19 level.
“This will be a very tough tournament. We definitely have a tough match on Wednesday,” said Letts, a member of the men’s national team, as he sat in between players Kingsley Ballesteros and Joshua Aragon during the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Shakey’s, Accel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“We’ll have to make sure that we’ll approach our first game with a strong team (on Wednesday),” added Letts. “But the beauty of it is that we’re hosting the tournament.”
Aside from Ballesteros and Aragon, also included in the 25-man Philippine roster are Rhys Jacob Mackley, Kai Ledesma, and Robert Benitez. In all, the team hast 13 players based here, while the rest will be coming overseas (Asutralia, Canada, US, New Zealand, and United Kingdom).
But Letts, who’s been involved in the junior program since 2014, said experience will definitely be on the side of the Junior Volcanoes’ opponents, especially Korea and Singapore.