Manila Philippines; The national rugby sevens teams, the Philippine Volcanoes have finalized their playing rosters for this weekend’s Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
For Team Philippines, Coach Shirley Russell has retained 9 athletes from her 2015 team which took out the Bronze in Singapore.
"The ladies have an additional two years experience since our last SEA Games, their skills have increased, their positional awareness has increased, we are in a much better position for this year’s games. Our aim is to qualify for Gold Medal match" Russell stated.
The ladies look to experience in Rassiel Sales, Acee San Juan and Sylvia Tudoc to lead the national team. All three returning from 2015. Their opening match is against gold medal favourites Thailand, followed by Laos, Singapore on the first day and Malaysia on Sunday.
For the men's, Team Philippines aims for back-to-back gold medals. The Men's open their SEA Games defense against Indonesia and Cambodia, followed by host nation Malaysia on day one. A match of the day after the two went head-to-head in 2015 for the Gold Medal. Day two, the Philippines face Singapore and Thailand to conclude the round robin format. The top two teams will be seeded into the Gold Medal match with the next two for the Bronze. The same format goes for the Women's.
Coaches FranoBotica and David Johnston have named Harrison Carceller Blake as Team Captain. Blake returns from a successful Asia Trophy Series in February, where the Volcanoes secured the Gold in Doha.
"It's an absolute honor and privilege to be named Captain, I'm looking forward to the weekend. My main message for the players is to make sure they know their roles and do their jobs well, we know we have the team to win it, we aim to execute and bring home gold for the country" Blake shared.
Another impact selection for the Men's is young Jonel Madrona, who starred in the Volcanoes tour in April. Madrona, a Clark Jet representative will be playing in his first ever SEA Games.
The Volcanoes will depart to the games on Thursday 17th, before taking the field at MBPJ Stadium, Kelana Jaya on Saturday & Sunday.