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Jul 16 19, 11:36 am

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Lito Ramirez: From sniffing Rugby to playing rugby

by | Feature, Sports

Jul. 16, 19 | 11:36 am

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine rugby star Lito Ramirez was once into a different kind of Rugby, a brand name, in fact, for contact cement that he used to sniff when he was a six-year-old orphan, living in the streets, begging from motorists when the traffic light turns red.

Years later, he would try to slowly rebuild himself at an orphanage to much success as it turns out – and apparently motivated by rugby.

Ramirez was one day asked by the orphanage’s elders about a sport he would like to engage himself in, and as football or basketball was never up his alley unlike most kids his age, he was offered rugby, according to a report by the French news service, Agence France Presse (AFP) which was published online the network news, ABS-CBN.

“I didn’t have any idea it was a sport,” AFP quoted Ramirez as saying in an interview. “I thought it was the glue. That’s why I chose rugby for sports.”

No kidding!

Nonetheless, hence started the story of a boy, who, like the Phoenix of Greek mythology, rose from the ashes, in a matter if metaphor if you will, to become a 5-foot-six sensation in the Philippine rugby scene, playing fullback.

And to think that Ramirez, according to the AFP report, had no birth certificate, only writing down March 17, 1994 on forms because it was the date assigned him when he entered the orphanage.

Ramirez’ career flew higher in 2015 when he made it to the roster of the Philippine national rugby squad, the Volcanoes – the only full-blooded Pinoy, at that.

And it’s been playing to his advantage. Having gone through a life in the streets, where the fittest survives, Jake Letts, general manager of the Philippine Rugby Football Union, described Ramirez’ metamorphosis as something that came from being a raw talent to what the official called a “dangerous” player on the pitch.

“His strength is his speed and his agility. It’s really hard for a big guy to catch him,” AFP quoted Letts as saying. “When they do catch him, it can be painful.”

AFP, citing Letts, said Ramirez’ brutal upbringing is now a strength: “He’s definitely got the grit. He’s been through it all,” the news agency further quoted Letts as saying.

To this, pictures of a dazed lad running away from authorities to evade arrest for sniffing Rugby easily come to mind: that probably was his training which soon became instinctive and proving to be quite useful on the rugby field.

Ramirez was asked to try out for the Philippines Under 18-team in 2012 – the rest is history. (AFP photos by Noel Celis)

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Japan suspends visas issued to PH

Japan suspends visas issued to PH

Japan on Friday announced that it is suspending visas issued to the Philippines and 10 other countries due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. Japan’s Foreign Ministry said that the policy will take effect on Saturday, March 28. All visas, it said, will be...

BOC fast-tracks release of 57,000 test kits

BOC fast-tracks release of 57,000 test kits

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) announced Friday it has expedited the release of around 57,000 test kits donated by Senator Manny Pacquiao and Chinese billionaire and philanthropist Jack Ma. BOC said it has fast tracked the release of 57,600 COVID 19 test kits from...

DFA: Over 4,000 Filipino seafarers to arrive in PH 

DFA: Over 4,000 Filipino seafarers to arrive in PH 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that around 4,000 Filipino crew members are expected to arrive in the country in the coming days. Locsin said the seafarers will return to the country will be back in the next three weeks.  530 seafarers from Costa...

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The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

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