By Regina Shiroma
The men’s championship game of the inaugural Heineken Guam Rugby Sevens Tournament ended in a well-fought battle between the Young Gunz and Para Todu Red. For the championship match the halves were extended to ten minutes instead of the usual seven, however the twenty minutes of regulation time were not enough for either team to take the win.
Down to the final seconds of the game, Para Todu’s Basil O’Mallan charged into the try zone and tied the game at 14 apiece.
The game therefore went into overtime, which consisted of two five-minute halves. Para Todu scored first in OT when O’Mallan offloaded to Nathanial Baza from 10 yards out and ran into the try zone untouched. The conversion was missed, making the score 19-14.
The Young Gunz, trying to tie the game, were unable to capitalize on their first attempt as Para Todu held up Will Williams before he could place the ball. The Young Gunz, just five meters out from their try line, spread the defense line thin by passing out to winger Amadeus Romero. Romero then passed back in and the ball made its way to Jesse “Pumpy” Manglona who scored right before the half to tie the game at 19-all. The conversion was good, and the Young Gunz took the lead.
“We lost once in the pre-tournament. We took that to heart and I’m telling you we just came out with our hearts and played to the end,” said Manglona.
Opening the second half of OT, Williams sped down the sideline, dodging tackles and using his speed to leave the defense behind. Williams then slid into the try zone to further the Young Gunz lead 26-19. Young Gunz would then add one more try and conversion to their score to insure their victory. The play was sparked by Romero, who punted the ball near their try zone. Para Todu’s Kenji Amano picked up the ball and attempted to punt back to the Young Gunz, however, Romero took down Amano and blocked the punt. Manglona scored his third try from ten yards out, picking up the loose ball and running it in for another score.
During the first half of the regulation period, Stephen “Juice” Santos booked it down the sideline to score the first try of the game and to put his Young Gunz up 7-0.
Para Todu then received a penalty try due to a high tackle near the try zone, and with a successful conversion, the score was tied at 7-all. Manglona, scoring his first try of the game, received a pass from Romero and took off for the try zone. With the conversion made, the Young Gunz were ahead 14-7. An O’Mallan try and a Vinson Calvo conversion tied the score, thus sending the game into OT.
Manglona received the MVP award for the entire tournament.
“In all honesty it really feels good to win MVP, but I wouldn’t have gotten MVP and those three tries without my teammates.”
“It’s not just a one man show, it’s a team effort. If it were a one man show it’d be seven against one. So I gotta give it to my team, we all played hard. Defense won the game for us. We’re just proud to be the first Heineken Guam Rugby Sevens champions.”
Para Todu took the women’s cup, defeating the Blue Comrades 25-o. Kimberly Taguacta scored two tries, sisters Isabella and Olivia Flores each scored one, and Maria Sgro added a try in the win. Isabella Flores was given the MVP award for the women.
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