MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Volcanoes are still the champions of Asia Rugby Division 1, after beating regional rival Singapore in a thrilling final on Saturday night in Taipei.
It was a 29-21 triumph for the Filipinos, who got off to a good start in the match but had to withstand Singapore's fightback.
"It wasn't the prettiest game, but we showed a lot of heart to get the win," said Volcanoes captain Danny Matthews, as quoted by the Philippine Rugby website.
"All credit to Singapore. They were excellent, I can't say enough how good they were," he added.
The Volcanoes qualified to the finals after trouncing top-seeded Sri Lanka, 39-22, while Singapore defeated hosts Chinese-Taipei in their own semifinals match-up.
The Philippines opened an early 12-0 lead, but penalties by Singapore kept them in the match. The Volcanoes kept them at bay, however, thanks to the efforts of Ned Stephenson and Eric Cruz Erickson.
"It's an important win for us," said Matthews. "Our role as a team is to help with the development of rugby in the Philippines."
The Philippines had also beaten Singapore in the 2018 edition of the tournament, with games held in Calamba, Laguna.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.