The dream is alive and a coveted spot on next season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is within touching distance for the hometown boys. Hong Kong beat the Philippines 17-7 in the quarter-finals on Saturday night of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens to book a date with Chile in the semi-finals. Chile beat Tonga in their quarter-final, while Ireland steamrollered Russia and Germany edged out Uruguay on the last play. Hong Kong never make it easy on themselves – or their fans – and they conceded early to the Philippines, a team they beat handily in the pool stage. Two of Hong Kong’s three tries went to video review, which also made for some tense moments inside the stadium. One of Hong Kong’s strongest players all weekend has been Jack Neville, with the 26-year-old making key tackles and superb runs. Neville said last year’s Sevens’ frustration is still on the minds of many of the players, a tournament that saw the team make the quarter-finals but lose to Chile in heartbreaking fashion. Now that Hong Kong have bettered last year’s performance, they will also get a chance to gain revenge on Chile, who sent them packing. “That was pretty disappointing for us so a lot of guys remembered that this year,” said Neville. “So we wanted to make sure we didn’t repeat that. Obviously going through the group stage as the top seeds helped and that was really ideal for us. The Philippines are a good squad, there are no easy games.” Hong Kong Sevens: USA use get-out-of-jail card to keep hopes alive after defeats by Wales and England Neville said experience has played a big part in this year’s squad and getting over the hump and making it to the semi-finals. He said the team have been able to feed off the crowd, while still remaining composed as they have trailed their opponents in three of their four games. “A lot of the guys have done this before and been here before, so that’s helped us a lot,” said Neville. After levelling the scores at half-time, Hong Kong came out as an inspired team in the second half, and added two more tries, the last from Tom McQueen, who said it was “crazy” to seal the deal. “We knew the Philippines were going to be good and they came out strong and we just had to keep our composure,” said McQueen. Coach Paul John called their 19-12 win earlier in the day over Tonga, which sealed the top seed heading into the quarter-finals, a “classic win” in which a smaller Hong Kong used speed and skill to overcome a much bigger Polynesian squad. Hong Kong Sevens: Ireland meet Germany in World Series Qualifier semi-final after crushing Waisale Serevi’s Russia John said there is still a lot for his team to work on heading into Sunday. Hong Kong needed some key tackles to keep the Philippines in check, one in particular from Salom Yiu Kam-shing, who chased down a breakaway runner who looked destined to score. Yiu, who has been handling the Cantonese media after each game with grace and a smile, and scored Hong Kong’s first try in the second half against the Philippines, is a local hero, but he’s a bit uneasy with the “superstar label”, remaining eternally humble. “I don’t like the term ‘superstar’, there’s a lot of pressure with that and I don’t think I am a superstar. I just want to do my best and play well for Hong Kong,” Yiu said. John said they would study some tapes from the game against the Philippines, and see where they can make some improvements for Chile. “We have to be better with the ball, that’s been a thing all tournament, and stay out of contact areas with bigger teams,” John said. John said he probably won’t say much, other than to make sure they recover, stretch, have a good meal and get a good night’s sleep. Hong Kong Sevens: Fiji unearth another star on unbeaten run to Cup quarter-finals “They’re probably sick of my voice by now, I know I am. And they know what to do to prepare for tomorrow,” said John. John said Chile will be a tough match, as they have beaten a few teams recently who are on the World Series. “We know they’re a good squad, so we will have to play our best to win or they will send us home quickly. The mistakes we made against the Philippines, we can’t do that against them because they will make us pay,” added John. Jamie Hood, 32, said the team is clicking at the right time. “We’re just working hard for each other. Now every game matters. There’s no easy games in this qualifier and now they get harder each match,” said Hood.