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LIONS RALLY FOR HEINEKEN CUP

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By Regina Shiroma

Lions' Basil O'Mallan fends off Da Doks' Jeremy Manglona. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Lions’ Basil O’Mallan fends off Da Doks’ Jeremy Manglona. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Lions and Da Doks showed up Saturday afternoon at the UOG field with the intent to win the first championship of the Heineken 15’s tournament. Up until the final whistle was blown it was then and only then that fans knew who would be this season’s champions as the game went down to the wire—each team did not stop playing until the final minute. Despite each team’s effort, unfortunately only one team could come out the winner and it was the Lion’s who slipped away with the win in the closing minutes of the game, 26-25.

With Da Doks up 25-20 and two minutes left in the game, a big tackle by the Lions let the ball loose and their own Kelvin Hocog dived on the ball in the try zone, putting them up by one. With a minute left, Da Doks tried to score, but the Lions kick the ball out of bounds an the game was over.

Da Doks' Austin Pangelinan tackles Lions' Will Williams. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Da Doks’ Austin Pangelinan tackles Lions’ Will Williams. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Lions, who were down 13-0 turned up their play in the second, making up a lot of ground that they had lost in the first half.

“We didn’t say anything different, anything new that our team didn’t already know. We knew what we had to do in the first half, the Doks were just incredible at forcing their strategy, their game plan and it took away from us. And I think in the second half we just had to regroup, settle ourselves down, and once we had the core leadership in the team on the field, we were just able to build on the little things and really, that’s what led us to coming back.,” said Lion’s Rob Leon Guerrero.

Da Doks’ Epeli “Ratu” Uluiviti, opened up the second half with a 60-meter breakaway to the try zone and a successful conversion to put his team up now a whopping 20-0.

Lions' Carlton "Cake" Marshall breaks through on his run. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Lions’ Carlton “Cake” Marshall breaks through on his run. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Steven Sablan rebuttled back with a quick pick and go to put the Lions on the board; Sablan made the conversion and the score read 20-7. The Lions weren’t done yet. Leonard Calvo added another try as the team mauled him past the try line. Leon Guerrero scored jumping on a loose ball in the try zone for their third try of the game; Sablan made both kicks and the Lions were up 21-20.

Ratu came up big for his team running along the sidelines off quick tap and go from about 20 meters out, and placing the ball down for his third try of the game.

In the first half, Da Dok’s Jeremy Manglona dropkicked from about 20 meters to take the 3-0 lead. Thirty minutes into the game, Gabe Martinez leaped onto a loose ball after it was knocked out of the Lion’s possession. Martinez went on to score the first try of the game, and Ratu followed with the conversion.

“Without a doubt its their heart and their chemistry. These guys have been playing together for years. They’ve been building their team. They’ve been keeping quiet, and in 2013 Da Doks are showing that they are the top club on island. We were fortunate enough to pull out all the stops; it took the whole game, it took all 80 minutes to come away with the victory.”

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PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Lions’ Rob Leon Guerrero runs with ball in hand. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Lions’ Robert Leon Guerrero points upward in praise for his try. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Lions’ Rob Leon Guerrero fights for extra meters against the Da Doks defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Da Doks’ Austin Pangelinan looks to kick the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Lions’ Leonard Calvo breaks a tackle. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Da Dok’s gained control of the ball in the scrum. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Epeli Uluiviti breaks away from the Lions Defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Michael “Boise” Hocog reaches for the lineout pass. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Lions’ Brandon Burgos takes a hard tackle from Da Doks Defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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Lions’ Johnny Borja looks to drive the ball against a swarm of defenders. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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