As a typhoon swept over parts of the Philippines, two key games were still played in the Philippine Tackle Football League as the two undefeated teams, the Wolves and Bandits squared off while the ever-improving Vanguards took on the Renegades.
Vanguards 28 – Renegades 6
With both teams coming off losses last week, this game was important to get back on track. The Vanguards did just that, bringing their running game, scoring four rushing touchdowns against the undermanned Renegades. Their arsenal was further bolstered by the late arrival of the dynamic duo import tandem of Lawrence Bowlby and DJ Batistella. The men in orange dominated on several fronts and were intent on sending a clear message to the league’s other teams that they are serious about making the playoffs and that given the opportunity to field their full team, inclusive of imports, they are definitely a possible force to reckon with.
Aaron Velasquez was the lone ray of light in this game for the Renegades scoring his own rushing touchdown and putting his team on the board. It was too little too late as the Vanguards rushing attack took it’s toll on the injury prone Renegades who were missing several notable players and eventually had very little choice but to raise the white flag and succumb to the onslaught brought on by the pinoy pride Vanguards.
Wolves 3 – Bandits 0
It was the most anticipated game this season, a rematch of last year’s finals. Not even a typhoon could stop this game from happening nor the fans from showing up. Weather conditions, however, prevented it from being a high scoring game. Defense set the the tone for both teams, as they were forced to go for it on fourth down several times. In a game which featured the league’s highest scoring teams, hard hits and tackles were the highlights instead of high scoring offense which both teams usually bring to the table.
There were no notable plays executed by Luke “Z-Man” Zetazate and his green counterpart Mike “Sunshine” Hoese, who were both battling the third opponent on the field, the weather and slick playing conditions (with the latter going down after a thunderous hit by ‘ he Wolves’ Steve Smith). DJ Mello scored the only points of the game and game winning field goal after missing his 1st attempt in the 1st half.
Edlen Hernandez was making plays on both sides of the field for the Bandits before leaving the game with an apparent injury. His absence limited the Bandit’s running game and the Wolves secondary shut down the Bandits passing game as a result. As good as the defense of the Wolves was in this game, the Bandits still had their chances. Kit Guerra missed what would have been a game tying field goal and DJ Mello saved a touchdown during a kickoff return where the Bandits had a 60 yard return but could not advance the ball during that drive. Both teams will meet again during the regular season. Stay tuned for round two of this saga.