NBA
Punishers looking for touchdown
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - November 6, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - American football, which is supposed to be the big man’s game, is now being played on Philippine soil.

And unknown to many, the American Football Federation of the Philippines (AFFP) has scored a few touchdowns since it was formed in October last year.

The AFFP has assembled an 11-man team from a pool of 45 players. Made up of Filipinos and some foreigners, they are known as the Philippine Punishers.  

They’ve played matches against teams from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guam, Korea and Saipan, scoring victories and picking up losses along the way.

Tim Beasley, a member of the American Football Coaches Association, is the Punishers’ head coach, while Dick Thornton serves as the defensive coach.

“When we played Guam, they were worried if the Philippines really had a team. We were shell-shocked. We lost but we came out with some lessons,” said Beasley.

Then slowly, the Punishers got going, beating the Hong Kong Cobras at Clark in May, Beijing in July and again Hong Kong, 32-12 in their home turf, last August.

On Saturday, the Punishers will face the Saipan Sharks at the Ultra in Pasig City. The match is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

Beasley presided over a press conference yesterday at the Insider Sports Bar in Makati where a handful of the players were introduced to the media.

American football is no longer considered the big man’s game as shown by Filipino Punishers Bo Tamayo (5’5”) and Mark Castro (5’6”).

The other members of the team who graced the press conference were JM Manlangit, Steven Smith and Mark Marigomen. They came in different sizes.

Beasley said they have another guy who stands 5’1” and one who stands 6’7” and weighs 300 lb and another one at 6’3” but weighs 500 lb trying it out.

They either have a background in soccer, basketball, track and field, baseball or wrestling.

“Contrary to popular belief American football is not played only by big men or burly players. There are positions on the team that require shorter, leaner players.

“It is also not true that this is a sport for the affluent. One of our players has a regular job as a security guard but he has found a new passion for American football,” he said.             –

AMERICAN FOOTBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION AMERICAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES BEASLEY BEIJING DICK THORNTON FILIPINO PUNISHERS BO TAMAYO HONG KONG HONG KONG COBRAS INSIDER SPORTS BAR
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