American Football has been around the Philippines for about five years, and remarkably, so much has happened to grow the sport. The Pilipinas Aguilas, our national team for American Tackle Football, faced Japan (ranked number 3 team in the world, and number 1 in Asia) for its maiden game, which coincidentally is an American Football World Cup qualifier under the International Federation of American Football. We also hosted a friendly game against Western Australia Raiders in 2014. Both teams proved to be juggernauts for a budding Philippine team; nevertheless, the unrelenting Filipino spirit brought us back up as we face the Korea Tigers. All these in five busy years.
Korea has a different story though, shared Lawrence Bowlby, the head coach for the visiting Korea Tigers. American Football has been in Korea for 50 years but it hasn’t barged its way through mainstream Korea. He went on to say that there are 32 university teams in Korea, which makes a formidable foundation for the sport, but none of them are legitimate varsity programs yet. In fact, the visiting team, bannered under Korea University, had to rely on donations from their university alumni network, while some funded their own just to play against the Pilipinas Aguilas. Coach Lawrence was all-praise for the passion, dedication, and heart shown by the Korea Tigers.
American Tackle Football Association of the Philippines chairman Apollo Angco noted that there is a big presence of Koreans in the Philippines, and the PHIL-KOR cup is a great opportunity to develop the sport and build the relationship between the two countries. He added that as the Philippines continue to fortify its program, the Aguilas have no choice but face Korea. Coach Lawrence interestingly noted that the national teams of both the Philippines and Korea might face each other for the Asian qualifier of the next American Football World Cup, slated in 2018. Just like the Filipino atchara and Korean kimchi, trust this match to tingle our appetite for bigger things to come!
The PHIL-KOR Cup game will be held on Saturday, February 28 at Emperador Stadium, McKinley Hill, kick-off starts at 1PM.
Game of inches
Pilipinas Aguilas head coach John Walker could not have said it any better: Football is a game of inches, many games have been decided by the inches. The statement must have been inspired by a quote from the classic movie Any Given Sunday, where one of the actors said: Life is a game of inches, so is Football. The Pilipinas Aguilas has been clawing for those inches. Much has happened in five years of developing the sport, and it is high time for us to join, support and stand beside the team in fighting for more inches—to bring pride and glory for the Philippines.