THE Philippine National Rugby League (PNRL), following the Tamaraws’ success at the Asian Cup against the Thailand Stars on October 21, has upped the tempo on the development of rugby league in the Philippines.
Philippines-based board members Rick Hartley, Tony Shibley and Cobi de Leon led the Tamaraws on a three-day tour for clinics around Manila and areas nearby.
Players braved torrential rain and hot, humid conditions to introduce the game to Filipino youth from Manila Bay to Tagiug, Makati, and Mandaluyong.
Tamaraws Richard Goodwin, Mark Reyes, and captain Luke Srama coordinated the two-hour clinics.
The tour included aside visit to the Nayon ng Kabataan Orphanage in Mandaluyong city. The players took taxis and other forms of road transport to get to the venues, and many of them were deeply touched by the poor people they came into contact with in some slum suburbs of Manila.
The PNRL thanked Nene Casa, a social worker of Nayon ng Kabataan Orphanage, and Kumi Kobayashi, cousin of Luke and Matt Srama for for facilitating the Tamaraws’ visit.
Players and PNRL management paid all airfares and accommodation for the tour of Thailand and the Philippines from their own pockets, with some support from sponsors.
In the Philippines, where the players were asked to promote and develop the game of rugby league, they used their own money to travel from one clinic venue to another, to one sponsor’s office to another, and not one player complained.
According to one PNRL official, they were all happy and proud to make the financial sacrifice needed to bring the “Greatest Game of All” to the Philippines.