It's an impossibly hot late morning in Turf BGC. Several young men in two groups are sweating on the plastic grass, working on American Football plays.
The banter of Football practice wafts over the field.
"Strong left 21 dive on one!"
"C'mon guys, you're acting like you've never done this before. Don't anticipate!"
"Go on the 'H' of hut! As soon as you hear that 'H' sound, you GO!"
Behind the line of scrimmage is a plump American in a baseball cap, shades and a salt and pepper beard. A stopwatch dangles from his neck and his t-shirt reads "Port City Chargers."
Tim Beasley, the Philippine Punisher's head coach, is liking what he sees this morning at the American Football Fundamentals Clinic he is running.
"Blow up Tim!" bellows the assistant to the running back.
The quarterback pretends to hand off to the running back and he ploughs straight into Beasley, his hands plunging into his ample stomach.
Beasley stumbles backward in surprise.
"I wasn't expecting that!" The players and coaches burst out into laughter.
A Philippine national team in American Football? With pads and tackling and all? We weren't expecting that either.
But thanks to the American Football Federation of the Philippines, Beasley's dream may soon become a reality.
On Saturday, November 10, the Philippine Punishers duke it out with the Saipan Sharks at the Philsports field at 1:30 pm in a full, sixty minute, 11-a-side, Gridiron showdown.
The 43-year old Beasley will be the Philippine team's head coach. Born in Texas and raised in Kentucky, he played for U.S. Air Force teams in Europe and for minor league outfits like the Carolina Hurricanes and Orangeburg Roughriders.
He moved here in 2006 and married his Filipina wife, Des. After a few years in the states they moved back to the Philippines and began seeding American Football in the country.
When he isn't working on Football, Beasley has a small catering business that specializes in Southern cuisine.
Beasley started recruiting players last year, when the AFFP was founded. The team has since played four games, losing to the Guam All-Stars in April, then defeating the Hong Kong Cobras 42-14. Both matches were in Clark field.
An away game against the Beijing Guardians went the way of the Punishers, 14-0. Beasley notes that the Punishers only brought fifteen players in that game thanks to visa issues.
Then the Punishers traveled to Hong Kong and knocked off the Cobras once again, 32-12, last July.
The Punishers pride themselves on being mostly Filipino, with only ten of the forty-something slots being taken up by foreigners.
The quarterback is Mike Hoese, a homegrown Pinoy who shifted over from Flag Football. Jun Manlangit from PSBA is on the defensive line. Evan Baylon from Letran in Calamba is a Defensive back.
Beasley is quick to disavow the notion that Football is only for big guys.
"We have a guy who is 5'1" tall, 120 pounds sopping wet, and he ain't scared to run the ball."
Another pint-sized Punisher is tailback Mark Castro. The UST running back stands 5'6" and weighs 143 pounds.
Castro is dwarfed by the team's heaviest player, American Nose Guard Quinton Ellick, who stands 6'3" and tips the scales at 510 pounds.
For sure one of the challenges facing the team is the equipment. Fortunately the team has contacts in the states, with former Oakland Raiders QB Marques Tuiasosopo being tapped to help out with used pads and helmets.
Eventually Beasley hopes the AFFP can soon become a National Sports Authority registered with the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Committee. The next step will be to join the International Federation of American Football, which currently has 64 member nations.
A developmental league is planned for next year, with four Manila-based teams, the Raiders, Bears, Legion, and Panthers, plus two Subic clubs, the Hornets and the Kwago. That league is not connected with Arenaball Philippines, the other tackle Football league in Metro Manila.
But for now the team is focusing on the Saipan match. The visitors will bring chain markers, and the goalposts will be PVC pipes propped on top of the Soccer goals. A statistician will be on hand to record every play. Beasley himself will oversee the yardage markings on the field.
The coach will have his hands full, and he just might have one more task that Saturday.
If one of his top linemen doesn't show up, he'll wriggle into some pads, strap on a helmet, and take to the field.
Punishers Offense Starters
Quarterback - Mike Hoese
Fullback - Mark Marigomen
Tailback - Terence Marca
Wide Receiver - Ben Paulson
Wide Receiver - Otto Wong
Wide Receiver - Steve Smith
Left Tackle - Paul Harris
Left Guard - Alvin Balasi
Center - JM Manlangit
Right Guard - David Mouatt
Right Tackle - Jon-T Vergara
Nose Tackle - Bryan Meneses
Defensive End - David Mouatt
Defensive End - Paul Harris
Linebacker - Evan Baylon
Linebacker - Steve Smith
Linebacker - Bong Tamayo
Linebacker - Will Yeh
Defensive Back - Mike Reyes
Defensive Back - Bilz Juaiting
Defensive Back - Jai Merchant
Defensive Back - Ben Paulson
Watch the Philippine Punishers versus the Saipan Sharks at 1:30 p.m. on Saurday, November 10 at the Philsports (ULTRA) Football field in Pasig. Admission is free.
Follow the Punishers on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Philippine-Punishers/423787540993083.
Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.
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