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Young Gunz shoot straight in overtime
IT TOOK two extra five-minute overtime periods, but after 30 minutes of grueling rugby action, the Young Gunz shot through Para Todu 33-19, claiming the championship cup during last Sunday’s 1st Annual Men’s Heineken Guam Rugby Sevens Tournament, held at the University of Guam field in Mangilao.
Young Gunz wasted little time in jumping out to an early lead, with Stephen “Juice” Santos making it past the goal line for a try, putting the young bullet-bangers up 5-0. After the made conversion by Goro Borja, they increased their lead to 7-0. The first half ended without either team able to tack on any additional points.
At the intermission, tournament coordinator Matt Sgro commented on the first half: “There’s been a lot of great ball movement and a lot of great defense by both teams. It seems like the only way teams are going to score on each other is by capitalizing on the other’s mistakes. Both of these teams are very dangerous. Whichever team makes the least number of mistakes in the second half is probably going to win.”
Looking to even up the affair, Para Todu entered the field in the second half, looking to get things going for the Guam National Team. Within the opening first few minutes of play, Para Todu’s Vincent Calvo ran with the ball, advancing 60 meters and putting his team in great scoring position. On the next play, just 3 yards out from the goal, Para Todu’s Kenji Amano leapt toward the goal but was shot down, laid flat on his back by Jesse “Pumpy” Manglona. Amano, on the next play from scrum, took the ball toward the goal and once again tried to barrel his way past the goal line. But he was once again laid out flat on his back. However, the referees called a high tackle penalty against the Young Gunz’s Santos, awarding Para Todu with a penalty try. After a made conversion by Calvo, the contest was tied at 7-7.
Manglona, on the Young Gunz’s next possession, carried the ball 70 meters, untouched and into the goal for a try and another made conversion to put his team up 14-7.
With less than two minutes left in regulation, Manglona received a delay of game penalty, turning the ball back over to Para Todu. Advancing the ball toward the goal, and with time winding down with only 10 seconds left, Basil O’ Mallan pounded his way into the goal for a try 14-12, which was capped off with another Calvo two-point conversion, 14-14. With the ball passing through the uprights and off of Calvo’s sure-footed shoe, the game was headed into two five-minute overtime periods.
During their opening overtime drive, Para Todu looked to take their first lead of the day, which they did off a Nate Baza try via an O’Mallan assist (19-14). Not intimidated by being down by five, the Young Gunz closed out the second game with 19 unanswered points, courtesy of a try from Eddie Calvo and two from Manglona.
After the game, “Pumpy” commented about the win: “They’re more experienced than us and we’re young. We had to live up to the Young Gunz name.”
In second place, the Heineken Bowl was awarded to Da Doks (17) against Southern Men (7). And in third place, the Heineken Plate went to Para Todu Black, who scored 19 points to win over GSPN, who scored 10 points.
For the Heineken Bowl, Southern beat Ziggy's 17-5 in a thrilling match for second place.
The Men’s MVP went to Manglona, while the Women's MVP went to Isabel Flores.
Tropical Productions event manager and tournament organizer Matt Sgro said: "I am very happy with the turnout this year for Heineken's 1st Annual Guam Rugby Sevens. The teams were all supportive and I'm looking forward to the league and tournament growing each year!"