BUTUAN CITY -- The Cagayan de Oro football-rugby club won the 1st Araw ng Davao Sevens Rugby Football tournament that ended on Sunday, March 19 in Davao City.
“We were expecting to do well, but we never expected to do this well. Anything can happen in a sevens game, since there are only seven players in the pitch. Unexpectedly, we won all the four games in Davao. Winning was sweet because last time we went to Davao City we were Plate Runners Up, so one division from winning the cup. This time we wanted to show we have learned from the last experience,” said Noel Villa, team founder and playing couch of Cagayan de Oro Rafters Football Rugby club.
Villa said with the 12 players they brought to Davao City, he never expected they would have bonded that well.
“This time we knew we had the talent but it's just getting the guys to work the ball and support each other. We brought in 12 players who had previously played in tournaments in the past; then we also brought in two new guys who never played rugby tackle before. With the busy schedule, some of the guys haven’t really played and trained together before. We also had two players from Papua New Guinea who lives in Valencia and Malaybalay, Bukidnon and we did not have that much training with them but I guess we just bonded together as a group and played well as a team,” he added.
The CDO Rafters played against the Durians Rugby Football Club of Davao City and the Dadiangas Generals Rugby Football Club of General Santos City.
The event was organized by the Philippine Rugby Football Union in partnership with the Sports Development Division-City Mayors Office as part of the 80th Araw ng Dabaw's Get Into Rugby Festival that was held at the Ateneo de Davao University - Matina campus.
“The team showed strength and were quick to show their superiority against the newly formed Team Dagiangas Generals from GenSan scoring 5 unanswered tries in the first half including one by Gavine Montante an Alumni of Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan, the team captain for this tournament. The game ended with the Rafters adding another 4 more tries in the second half making the score line 45-0,” Villa said.
The team coach said, “The second game was the much anticipated match between Davao Durians and the CDO Rafters. The neighboring teams have had a friendly rivalry since being established. Second Round of Game 4 in the finals between the Rafters and Durians we scored 20 against 5. Hopefully both teams we played will be able to attend our Higalaay Challenge Cup in 2018.”
During the 2014 Philippine National Games, the Rafters wons the Rugby 7s Shield Division Cup barely 8-months after the team was formed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 21, 2017.