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OMBAC sits at a comfortable 4-2 in the Pacific Rugby Premiership after coming back to beat Santa Monica 69-32 in a wild game Saturday in San Diego.

OMBAC was almost inept in their execution through much of the first half, throwing passes ten maters behind teammates, fumbling balls in the breakdown, and giving up interceptions. As a result, Santa Monica burned the San Diego club for five tries, all unconverted, in the first half

The only bright spots for OMBAC was a 10th-minute Shane Moise try under the posts, and a 39th-minute try from Thretton Palamo.

The presence of Palamo might have been part of the troubles for OMBAC. Palamo was a 7s and 15s international  at 18 and an All American at Utah before switching to football to finish his schooling. Now in camp with the USA 7s team, but also a pro football prospect, as well, Palamo is a serious weapon on the rugby field.

Lining up at outside center, the 6-2, 250-pound power-runner with a much smaller man’s sidestep and a burst of pace seemed to be the guy OMBAC needed to send into space. But changing your approach for one guy, especially one relatively new to the club, can backfire. It certainly took time for OMBAC to run smoothly, but when they did smooth things out, the change was palpable.

In the second half OMBAC stopped trying to score a try from every possession, and used their superior size to push Santa Monica back. As often happens, such patience can sometimes yield quick results. Another silly turnover gave Santa Monica an early try in the second half, making it 32-14 after 44 minutes.

But, amazingly, Santa Monica would score no more that day. Zach Pangelinan made a break and chipped ahead. Andrew O’Connor covered the kick, but OMBAC had numbers to the breakdown and No. 8 Patrick Mallon, the Irishman who seems to be everywhere he’s needed this season, picked up and dove over. In fact, numbers to the breakdown seemed to be the recipe for success for OMBAC.
After the restart, it was a gang tackle that held the ball up, and then produced a turnover for OMBAC. Then they used their forwards in numbers to force a penalty and then set up a maul from which Derrick Broussard peeled off and scored.

At about this time, Palamo also realized he wasn’t required to score five tries to help the team. He started sucking in defenders and presenting the ball, and OMBAC scored again by going up the gut with the forwards as a group. Palamo then set up Ryan O’Connor, going on a long break and then offloading to the sub forward.

The tries flowed from there. But, interestingly, in a game where the winners scored 69 points, it wasn’t about sending the ball wide and taking a seat while the speedsters tallied up the tries. It was a game where OMBAC realized their breadth of talent, and the use of forwards such as Chris Clever, Brendan Purcell, and Ethan Willis, to name three under-appreciated tight-fivers, as the engine room, they would score.

Notes: With his 23 points against Santa Monica, Pangelinan now leads the league with 115. Glendale's Mike Graham is second with 99.


OMBAC 69
Tries: Moise, Palamo, Mallon 2, Broussard 2, Witkowicki, O’Connor, Denham, Pangelinan
Convs: Pangelinan 8
Pens: Pangelinan

Santa Monica 32
Tries: Serfoss, Chaput, O’Connor, Lesgourgues 2
Convs: LesGourgues