Philippine Volcanoes eye strong start in title match with Sri Lanka after close call against Singapore
The Philippine rugby team, coming off a narrow win, faces a tough Sri Lanka side that scored a comfortable victory in the opener. Czeasar Dancel

AFTER dodging a bullet against Singapore in the opener, the Philippine Volcanoes seek to put up a more explosive performance in the title match of the Asian Rugby Championship Division 1 tournament against Sri Lanka on Saturday at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.

The slow-starting Volcanoes erased a 10-point deficit to score a 20-17 win in overtime and move to the final. Sri Lanka defeated Kazakhstan, 35-14, in the other match.

[See Alex Aronson stars as Philippine Volcanoes nip Singapore in OT to reach Asian Rugby Division 1 final]

“I’m very proud of the way our squad finished the game. It wasn’t the most clinical performance but we showed Philippine spirit and never gave up,” said skipper Oliver Saunders.

Alex Aronson came off the bench to lead the Filipinos’ rally, scoring a penalty kick in the second half of extra time to deliver the “golden points” that sent the hosts to the gold medal match. Aronson was also responsible for forcing the extension with his try and successful conversion in the last play of regulation.

“It was really a good effort. We didn’t really help ourselves out a lot of times and so we had to fight back,” said Aronson.

The crowd also provided the energy that kept the Volcanoes going.

“Amazing support. They came all the way out here to support us. They’re the best fans, they pushed us on when it’s tough to keep fighting on. I’m proud to represent them, proud to represent the Philippines,” said Aronson.

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