The Philippines Aguilas Host the Korean Tigers in Far East Action

The Philippines Aguilas will host the Korean Tigers Saturday in an international rematch. Last year, the Tigers beat the Aguilas in a thriller 38-33.

The Aguilas head coach Filipino-American Edlen Hernandez and his offensive coordinator Ivan Klaric, who starred in the 2015 matchup, have assembled a team made up of all-stars from the five club teams in the Philippines. Both coaches are veterans of European play.

Quarterback FilipinoCanadian Luke Zetazate, who has spent many years playing in Europe, will lead a mixed bag of players into the contest. Zetazate quarterbacked the Manila Wolves this past season, winning the Philippines championship in a strife-ridden season.

Philippines - Phi-Kor 2015 action 2pic

Action from 2015 game

The Korean Tigers and head coach, Lawrence Bowlby, also has put together a team of Korea University undergraduates while combining players from many of the teams in Seoul including the Seoul Vikings and the Golden Eagles. Fullback Seongmin Joo who scored the game-winning touchdown in the 2015 game has returned.

This will be the first competition for the Aguilas after the Philippines Tackle Football League folded in December last year. A new organization has been loosely formed for this game and plans are in the works to form a new league for 2016.

In addition to Zetazate, both Hernandez and Klaric will suit up for the Aguilas as well as defensive tackle Steve Smith, who also played in the 2015 game.

According to Klaric, the reason for having import players on the Aguilas including Zetazate, is that American football is still in its infancy in the Philippines. He says that many of the Filipino players have not had much exposure to the game including properly-run practices.

Neverlesstheless, the enthusiasm of his team is outstanding he says and he looks forward to an exciting game.


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.