OMBAC won their league opener 55-19 over Los Angeles, with flyhalf Zach Pangelinan garnering the lion’s share of the points with a try to go along with a perfect day kicking for goal – two penalties and seven conversions.
It was a superb start of the season for Pangelinan, a seasoned veteran who is, people need to be reminded, only 23.
“It was a good day,” Pangelinan told RUGBYMag.com. “We played as a unit. I thought we’d have more rust but we’ve been working hard, and it was good to see everyone playing as a team.”
Going 100% on his kicks didn’t hurt either.
“I have been working hard on my kicking,” said Pangelinan, who made his full USA debut in the fall. “It’s something you always have to work on, but it was a good time.”
As well as being a fine goalkicker, Pangelinan is a versatile player. He’s fast enough to play on the wing, as he did for the USA Selects in the ARC. He has the field vision and skills to play flyhalf, as he does for OMBAC and has done previously for the USA 7s team. And he has the ability to play fullback, where he made his debut for the Eagle 15s team.
“I am learning a lot,” said Pangelinan. “Playing for the USA was the most intense rugby I have ever played. I find 7s a little more relaxed – there’s more space and more time to make your decisions. In 15s at the international level it’s really intense and really physical.”
Pangelinan is expected to get another look with the USA 7s team, so he will continue, potentially, to bounce between 15s and 7s. Right now, he should just be happy his club game is going so well.
“It was a good start for us, but I think we’re going to have to be better on defense,” he said. “Especially in our one-on-one tackling and open field tackling, we need to be better.”
Zach Pangelinan is RUGBYMag.com’s Rhino Rugby Player of the Week.