Korean Tigers Defeat Pilpinas Aguilas, Philippines National Team

The traveling Korean Tigers, many of whom paid for their trip and accommodations held off a determined Philippines national team at Emperador Stadiuim in McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Manila to win 38-33.

Despite being such a young program, the Pilpinas Aguilas – the Philippine national team – acquitted themselves well Saturday against a much more experienced Korean squad.

The Tigers opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 20 yard run to silence the predominantly Aguilas crowd. But Pilipinas answered as running back Johnny Babaran scored from 15 yards out to close the gap to one 8-7.

Philippines - Babaran2

Johnny Babaran was the game MVP in a losing cause

Aguilas team captain Ivan Klaric added a touchdown on a 20 yard reception from quarterbak Mike Hoese to give the Philippines a 14-8 lead.

Philippines - game action

Ivan Klaric grabs touchdown pass

Korea, feeling the heat and pressure in the first half had no answer for Babaran who scored his second touchdown of the day on a 40 yard scamper in the second quarter. But the Tigers responded with a touchdown of their own to trim the lead to 20-16. Philippine kicker DJ Mello ended the first half with a 25 yard field goal and the Aguilas took a 23-16 lead  into the break.

PHilippines - Korean Tigers action

Korea relied on fullback Chan-bok Lee heavily for the win

The Tigers’ half time adjustments paid off as they scored twice on the ground early in the second half to retake the lead 30-26. However, Babaran’s rushing opened up the passing attack and wide receiver Emilio Lim snagged a 30 yard touchdown pass giving the Aguilas the lead again 33-30.

Korea was not done as they regained the lead themselves on a 50 yard touchdown run and with the two-point conversion jumped out to a 38-33. The Tigers then held off the Aguilas’ last desperate drive to seal the win.

 VIDEO: Pilpinas Aguilas first TD of the day

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.