All-Filipino Makati Mavericks claims historic first-time win at Manila 10s Rugby return
After four years since COVID-19 restrictions halted sports activities, one of the most important annual rugby games in the country—the Manila 10s—triumphantly returned to the live scene and likewise witnessed another milestone with a historic first-time win by the Makati Mavericks, in two divisions no less.
Backed by real estate consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank (SKF), the all-Filipino team posted two championships in the men’s division and achieved runner-up status as well in the women’s division during the meet held last March 25 to 26 at the Alabang Country Club.
Mavericks Men’s players Alfred Bangsal and Dylan Davies made the winning try and conversion kicks, respectively, to disappoint the Eagles RFC at 7-5. Maui Reoperez led the team as captain along with Davies as vice-captain.
The Mavericks second team, the Roosters, also secured the top spot at the Shield Division helmed by Larcel Caparros and John Denmer Tulabot as captain and vice-captain, respectively. Meanwhile, the Lady Mavericks was led by captain Sylvia Tudoc and vice-captain Jane Catherine Francisco.
“The Makati Mavericks are testament that no dream is too big if you have the right mindset and core values in place—teamwork, grit, determination, loyalty and discipline,” said SKF chairman and chief executive officer Rick Santos, who co-founded the club along with William Brown, superintendent at International School Manila.
The Makati Mavericks at the Manila 10s were also sponsored by office and hospitality furniture company ContractWorld and supported by RCW Construction & Development Corporation.
Dozens of teams from 13 nations and territories competed at the triumphant return of Manila 10s, highly anticipated along with many other rugby leagues across the country.
The highest previous win of the Makati Mavericks men’s team was in 2019 in the Bowl division championship, while the women’s team was declared champion of the first-ever women’s division.
Making the Mavericks
With roots traced back to 2003, the Makati Mavericks Sports Foundation is one of the pioneers of cross-cultural and cross-gender youth rugby in the Philippines. Now home to women’s, men’s and junior teams, the Mavericks focuses on continuously creating opportunities in the sport for underprivileged young people, with a particular mission toward diversity and inclusivity.
The club holds regular trainings and practices at McKinley Hill Stadium, led by coaches Jerry Branzuela, Colin Steley, Lito Ramirez and Alvin Amos.
The Makati Mavericks has produced many homegrown talents coming from all walks of life—from orphanages to private schools and companies, many of whom are now playing for the Philippine national men’s and women’s teams. These include women’s captain Tudoc, brothers Lito and JR Ramirez, Rassiel Sales, Jheewel Idea, Dylan Davies, Bhea Estacio, Janin Puig and Reymarc Bustillo. English professional rugby union player Marcus Smith also trained with the Makati Mavericks at the Colegio de San Agustin field as a student.
A number of Mavericks alum are also leading collegiate rugby teams in many of the world’s leading universities, such as Jaime Chuidian who is captain at Dartmouth Rugby Football Club. Ryan Santos has served as captain at the Harvard Men’s Rugby Team, while his brother Reed is captain at Babson Rugby as well. Youngest sibling Rand is currently a freshman playing for Cal Berkeley.
The Makati Mavericks’ win at this year’s Manila 10s comes on the heels of a string of recent victories. Last year, the men’s team took the plum at Leg 1 of the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) Luzon Rugby Cup, and Legs 1 and 2 of the Globe 7s Series. Not to be left behind, the women’s team also bagged the cup in Leg 3 of the 2022 Globe 7s Series Championship, the 2022 PRFU Luzon Rugby Cup Championship, as well as international competitions such as the 2020 Bangkok International 10s (Bowl). A significant number of players at the Philippine National Women’s Team for rugby during the 2019 Southeast Asia Games also came from the Makati Mavericks.
Photos by Fritz Ryan Reyes