Philippine Men won silver at WCBU 2011 in Italy. They won bronze in WCBU 2015 in Dubai. And they are looking strong here in Royan too. They’ve gelled at club level as the Boracay Dragons. They added Kevin Michael Kelly (a Chicago Machine alumnus), and have been training every day since April. Under coach Jude Lee, this is a team that connects, runs, and aims to win.
Australia (a.k.a. the Reef Sharks) are more of a collection of superstars, as opposed to a superteam. They come from many of the top Australian clubs – Heads of State, Colony, Bench, etc. – but no more than three players from any team. Being so widespread across such a large island, they’ve only had three training camps. And their only warm-up game was the day before the tournament (they beat Currier Island 10-2ish). After coming 6th at the previous two WCBUs, coach Brett Lothian had a job on his hands today to prove Australia can really roll with the top dogs.
The game starts, and AUS look uncomfortable. Zac Chodos is wearing sleeves, neck coverings, and sunblock in a bid to keep out the sun. It must work, because he puts AUS in the lead with an assist to Ben Sutas. Then PHI turn on the gas. They’re used to the heat – the wind makes it slightly cooler than the humid heat they have at home. Quinjune Villanueva gets a huge D to give PHI the disc. He then gets the score. PHI then get three breaks, and AUS call a timeout. Both teams run for the shade, and AUS discuss tactics.
Whatever they discuss works. They get big, long, and fast against a shocked PHI, bringing the game to 5-5. Martin Forrest gets two of the scores, his team mates congratulate him for his work. This is now a critical point for both teams. The half-time hooter went during this run, and half time will happen on the next point. AUS really want it. They get horizontal on D to prove it, but there’s nothing they can do against the lovely I/O flick that Hubberth Kristan Guerrero guides into the endzone. AUS 5 – 6 PHI at half.
From there, PHI take control. At 6-7, they have all their players simultaneously sprint on offence, and AUS can’t keep up for the open side score. PHI have so much energy, even this late in the game. A pitch length run from Greg Schrader manages to save a point for AUS, but it’s late in the day and the earlier sudden-death win against Germany has taken its toll. At 10-7, Quinjune catches it long for PHI. AUS try to flood the endzone, but fail to pick up an open Hubberth Kristian. A simple backhand seals it.
Quotes from the sideline
Emily Wong (Singapore Women) –The intensity was great. Philippines and Australia have always been on par historically. It was always going to be a close game, and it showed here. The Australians had a light of height, but the Filipinos ran circles round them – they were very impressive.
Lyra Meehan (Australia Women (aka Platypi) Co-Captain) – So athletic. Intense. Mongrel. #believe
Ellie Shawah (volunteer) – I was very sad. Australia wasted a lot of discs.
Dan Eduardo (PHI team support, photographer at All About U) – The game went very well. Both teams were very spirited. There was lots of great action for photography.
By Harry Mason.