CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/05 May) – A newly formed rugby team here is hoping to create ripples when in competes in the Philippine Rugby Football Union 2014 Philippine National Games on May 19 in Metro Manila.
“I’m confident that our team will go a long way since we started with nothing and conquered our trails and gained a long way in the sport. Cagayan de Oro has so much raw talent in the sport that hasn’t really been tapped. I see great potentials here,” Noel Delos Reyes Villa, team founder and trainer, said over the weekend.
When he was eight years old, Villa’s family migrated from Manila to the United Kingdom where he started to play rugby.
“When I came back to the Philippines it was hard to fit. It was rugby that connected me with the people. Then I found a home with the Raging Bisons which gained me silver medal during the Philippine National Games back in 2011,” he recalled.
“My goal is to bring that feeling and experience to others here in Cagayan de Oro. It was an amazing feeling for me to be a part of the PNG tournament and gaining the medal made it much better,” he added.
The UK-raised athlete shared how it all started in Cagayan de Oro.
“When I arrived here two years back because my partner is from this city, it was a hard start for me; there was no existing rugby team here. For one month I would go up and jog around Pueblo de Oro carrying a rugby ball to entice potential athletes. I’d try to play with the ball by myself to attract attention and hopefully find someone interested. I talked to several joggers and offered to teach and train but after a month only two or maybe three came back,” said Villa.
He said things started to change with the help of social media.
“What helped me turn the tide around was going to the social media, through Facebook. By publishing on-line it helped me spread out the news and gained people to inquire. Now we have a team that was officially formed last August of 2012, and it’s amazing how much our team has gained after our match with teams from Cebu and Davao a few months back,” he said.
Villa revealed that he will be bringing a 10-man team to Manila the youngest member of which is 15 years old and the oldest 38 years old.
“The sport doesn’t discriminate age or race and it doesn’t cost as much compared to other popular sports. Right now we are getting bigger with newer group created and formed by club members. Right now there are three existing teams here in Cagayan de Oro and more are coming. Soon we will be able to create or own local tournaments and games against teams from Davao or Cebu,” he concluded.
Don Tidor, a 15-year old student of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School expressed excitement of being part of the Manila-bound team.
“I started as a soccer player. I joined the team after observing them play here in Pelaez Sports Complex. It looked fun and exciting so I decided to give it a try. Now I’m hooked with the game and I want to keep on playing it,” said Tidor.
“This championship is aimed to assess the expanse of the potentials of our athletes and is a possible basis for the selection of the national pool,” says the Philippine Sport Commission invitation letter posted on its website. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)