The Philippines American football championship game Sunday will offer up plenty of excitement. In the midst of all the turmoil with a league-ending clash that left the teams with no league structure, the Manila Bandits and the Manila Wolves have organized what promises to be an epic battle.
The Bandits had won four straight Philippine titles until the Wolves upended them in the 2014 championship game. The two teams met earlier this season and the game between two high scoring offenses finished 3-0 in favor of the Wolves.
The 2014 turnaround for the Wolves was the result of a heavy recruiting effort in season four and which led to the undefeated 10-0 season five.
Player standouts for the Wolves include receiver/safety Preston Lynch (he played at the same high school – St. Louis High Hawaii – as Marcus Mariotta), receiver Ivan Klaric and new to this team receiver Gabriel Chambers and quarterback Luke Zetazate (veteran of European play) who join veteran defensive lineman Steven Smith, linebacker Yosh Sakurai and Evan Baylon (Defensive Player of the Year Season 5).
The Wolves offensive line averages 300 lbs and find holes for running back, retired Army Major Dennis Graves. Keeping all of this together is middle linebacker Thomas Torres, one of the team stalwarts.
The Bandits are led by player/coach captain William Yeh and import player/coach Edlen Hernandez. After losing to the Wolves earlier in the season 3-0, the Bandits are looking to rebound in the championship.
On offense they are looking for outstanding performances from their quarterback Mike “Sunshine” Hoese and his young receiving corps which includes rookie Steven Andrews and second year player Nicholas Garcia.
The ground game features a dangerous stable of backs which include Yeh and Hernandez, along with rookies Kit Guerra and Richard Redman.
On defense they will need another solid performance from veteran linebackers John Dang and James Dimagiba along with veteran defensive lineman Mike Garcia and JP Suarez.
This is the most anticipated game of the year for American football in the Philippines and will be nothing short of a battle of the gridiron Titans!