In the second year of the Phil-Kor Cup series, the All-Star Aguilas took home the long-awaited prize. With Soul Diva Jaya, wife of one of the All-Star Aguilas, Gary Gotidoc, singing the National Anthem, the win seemed inevitable. The series features the friendly invitational matchup between the Korean Tigers and the country’s finest tackle football players, the All-Star Aguilas.
The Phil-Kor Cup was initiated in 2015 in an effort to strengthen our Philippine Team’s ability to compete against international opponents.
All-Star Aguilas Phil Kor Cup 2016 MVP and Head Coach Edlen Hernandez says the brunt of the battle was in preparing for the match-up.
“With less than two months to bring together players from a variety of skill levels to get them on the same page with only one day of practice a week was the toughest challenge for us,” Hernandez recounts.
With both teams putting up a solid defense in the first part of the game, it was a glorious pass from Quarterback Luke Zetazate to Hernandez that got him the first offensive touchdown in the second quarter. Korea answered back with a last-second touchdown towards the latter end of the second quarter. It seemed the Tigers were gaining momentum, until a third quarter interception by Will Yeh.
Preston Lynch continued to pour it on during the 3rd quarter with a long punt return for his very own touchdown. With the Aguilas up two scores, they just had to run the clock in the 4th quarter and play a solid defense to seal the deal.
“I would have to say that the defense played one hell of a game. They were making great stops the whole game, and turning the ball over to give our offense more opportunities to score,” Preston Lynch says.
Outside Line Backer Evan Baylon summarized the win by saying “We played with discipline. We didn’t give them room to breathe. We were hungry.”
Winning this year’s Phil-Kor Cup was a victory not only for the All-Star Aguilas, but for the sport itself, drawing a considerable crowd of football enthusiasts and those new to the sport alike to the Gatorade Chelsea Blue Pitch in Circuit Makati.
“This feels great that we made history — our first win in an international event. What made this match more memorable was that the players were more than athletes. We all helped out with the event organization. We raised our own funds, rallied for support and worked our hardest to beat the Tigers,” says Team Captain JP Suarez.
Last year’s Phil Kor Cup was won by Korea, and with this year’s win, it ties the series 1 to 1. With the number of tackle football fans in the Philippines growing, next year’s match is something we can definitely look forward to.
James Dimagiba, who played for De La Salle University Arrowheads in College before moving onto Tackle later on says playing for the All-Star Aguilas was a dream come true. “Sa totoo lang, dream yan. Maikwekwento ko yan sa mga kaibigan ko, at pag nagsama-sama ulit kami ng Aguilas, meron kaming babalikan.”