Daba Daba Ikawalo: A Journey To The Worlds. It's More Than Just A Tourney This Year.

This year is more than just a tournament. 

This year’s Daba Daba is different from the previous ones. As most of us already know, Mulatto is one of the most generous bunch of people in the community. This time though, they needed our help. After winning the AOUGCC mixed division championships last August 2017, they were given a slot to represent the country for the upcoming World Ultimate Club Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio this coming July. There were a lot of provincial ultimate communities who made their own Fundraising tournaments to help out the cause, but last weekend, Daba Daba Ikawalo marked as one of the biggest fundraising tournaments that ever happened in Philippine Ultimate Community. Thirty-nine teams from Luzon, Visayas and mostly in Mindanao answered the Mulatto’s call. And every single one of them came out to play with a lot of intensity.

Daba Daba always giving us the glimpse of their past, present, and future. Seasoned veterans are still putting up teams to compete with the present stars of Mindanao Ultimate as the future high-flyers making their presence known, showing everyone that they are the next big names in the region. It is one of the reasons why that even in lower pools the Daba Daba games are just as exciting as the higher pool games. There was a ton of action in all 4 fields. 

As you remember a few weeks ago during the Nationals, we were bombarded by strong winds and really hot weather that leveled the playing field. That weekend in Davao, though there’s no wind, the sun was terribly unforgiving. We really tried to keep ourselves hydrated, but the sun totally gave us a hard time, knocking us out for a few times and making us sit under the command center tent a little longer than we wanted. But then again, it’s all part of the life we try to live in. It’s all part of the amazing Ultimate. So we kept on shooting.

Day 1 was a lot of fun (and hot), but teams during Day 2 came out stronger (and hotter) as expected. From the crossover games, quarters, to the night games between Mulatto v Pangantucan Dragonfly on Pitch 2 and South Side Guerrillas v BatMan (Batang Mandaya of Mati City) on Pitch 1, it was a battle to the end as both games went on Universe point finish. 

There were a lot of young teams who had a great run in Daba Daba ikawalo, like Batang Mandaya from Mati City who improved their rankings from 20th last year to 5th place this year. Another team from Mati City, Team Kitty Apprentice Ultimate who placed Second runner-up in Pool D, and a young team from Bais City, Negros, calling themselves The Rainbow Monkeys, who participated in Daba Daba for the first time, placed 2nd runner-up in Pool A after defeating one of the best teams in Davao city, The South Side Guerrillas. The Monkeys had a full package of experience when it comes to traveling to a tournament as the whole team drove from Bais City all the way to Davao for 23 hours to play in Daba Daba. 

A new challenger in Fasa Fuego of Cebu faced the defending champions and home team, Mulatto for the Pool A Finals. It was exciting from the start, but Mulatto showed its dominance all throughout the game. Though the two Jeff Paloys of Fasa Fuego did everything they can to catch up, Mulatto was just too tough to handle. As the sun was about to set, Mulatto won their Sixth Daba Daba Championship trophy! 

Mulatto´s journey to the World Ultimate Club Championships in Ohio is not an easy bridge to cross. You need to be ready - physically and mentally. As well as the expenses ahead such as- processing the papers, the visas, registrations, food, accommodation reservation, transportation and anything you could possibly spend in a foreign country. You just have to keep all of that into account. Mulatto did their part, and I believe that they will do everything in their power to reach the top. In our own little way, lending a hand to this amazing group of people to make their DREAM a one big REALITY. 

Mabuhay kayo, Mulatto! Best of luck in your Journey To The Worlds!

For more donations on Mullato's Journey to WUCC 2018, visit their Make A Champ page!

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2018 PFDA Single Gender Nationals: Back To Back and One, on a blustery weekend.

I never chugged that much water in a tournament before. I filled-up my camelback for so many times last weekend, that I became a regular visitor in the Water and Ice Stations at Sta. Maria Football Field, the home of the 2018 PFDA Single Gender Nationals in Bacolod city.

It was a scorching two-day ultimate tournament, but what really leveled the playing fields was not the heat of the sun, but the microwave oven like wind that gave every single team a hard time to play their game. “It was WCBU Dubai all over again,” I said to myself. I experienced this kind of wind during the semifinal game of Boracay Dragons-Philippines versus the USA in Dubai.  Where it is hard to raise your camera up while trying not to get blown away by the wind. As the player in the women's division said to her teammates last weekend, “If you're telling me that the wind is the reason why we lost, then there shouldn’t be a winning team as well because they are also getting beat up by the wind. Everyone was having a hard time making plays. It only happens that the other team played better. So we need to embrace the wind and find our way to beat it.” The wind was the loyal ally and the worst enemy at the same time for all the teams. But still, everyone fought hard in every play as expected from all the teams that participated in the Nationals. 

It was an adjusting period for most of the teams on Day 1. Trying to tighten up the loose bolts, making everyone more comfortable in their roles. But in a span of a few hours of sleep and some dessert (Don't deny it, I’m sure most of you went to Calea, Felicia's or C's for some quick sugar rush fix.... I know I did.... A couple of times... Okay three times.), the teams in both Men's and Women's division came out firing in Day 2. The games were more intense. More exciting. Lots of fun. The real battle has finally arrived. Even the wind was not a factor anymore as most of the teams played really well. 

There were a lot of great games during the 2018 Nationals, but Team Negro of Dumaguete brought the house down as they went on to defeat one of the strongest teams in the Philippines today in the quarterfinal round eliminating the Bandits for the chance to play in the semis. After having a tough weekend, home team EBA gave their all in their last game of the tournament and gave Bacolodnons a last-minute victory dance as they went on to defeat a well-stacked Women's Team in Sunken Pleasure Girls. 

With only eight players from Iligan, The Amazons were very skeptical on their 2018 Nationals campaign. Help came from ten of their friends from all over Visayas and Mindanao making sure that these eight Amazons will bring home what is theirs in the first place. They fought hard on Day 2 as they faced off against SP Girls in the quarterfinal and went into full battle mode against the Lady Bandits under the harsh windy environment in the semis. With great determination, teamwork, and full of Amazon heart, the Iligans together with their loyal friends made the impossible, possible beating the Lady Bandits and dominated a strong Vicious Girls in the women's division final making history as the first back to back Champions and still the number one Women's team in the country. 

It was a Thrilla in Manila (or shall we say Bacolod?) grudge match as Manila's best Sunken Pleasure Good Boys and Vicious faced each other in the Men's Finals. With three insane layout D's from Wencie, Arts, and Mikko in the early stages of the game. That out of this world full extension layout pancake bid by Popoy. That perfect pull from Fel. The air battle between Juni and Marv. That huge Callahan from Gherson. The quick paced, non-stop adrenaline action from both teams all throughout the game was so much fun to watch and witnessed in person. Though Vicious had an early explosive lead, The SP boys worked patiently together to tie up the game and never looked back, winning the Philippine Nationals Men's Division Trophy for the first time. 

It was definitely a great weekend in Bacolod City with great games and tons of smiley faces. The wind was the talk of the town, and it wasn’t the organizers' fault if the wind wanted to show up and mess up the games. I guess, we just need (Yeah, including us shooters of the game) to be battle ready all the time, no matter what weather it is going to be.

Congratulations, PFDA for another successful Single Gender Nationals. 

On to the next!

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Saltimate Tres: Salt City Is Sweeter Than You Think

The weather was cool and mostly cloudy, as Day 1 of Saltimate Tres was about to begin last Saturday. The 16 teams from all over Visayas and a few guests from Mindanao was a perfect number of teams for a growing tournament in this simple town of Maasin. As expected, Day 1 kicked-off at a very easy pace for most of the participating teams, but you can easily determine which teams will go all the way to the last rounds of the tournament.

 Though, the games were obviously dominated by Teams like Mohawks of Tagbilaran, who played their first game with only 6 players. A strong ringer team that was composed mostly of one of Tacloban’s best teams, DBN. Team “Oldies But Goodies” who were composed of, you know – OLDIES. Then, a younger generation of ultimate players from Bohol who call themselves “The Mercenaries” who wowed everyone with their athleticism and age (15-16-year-olds). Of course the host team, “Maasin Pirates” that is always a dangerous team to play against with when you have Jayke and Japhet in your line-up. You can’t easily weed out the rest of the pack, as most of the teams have their own bag of tricks to win a game. Sadly, the champion team of last year was not here to defend their title. That simply means the Saltimate Crown is up for grabs.

Everyone was greeted by tons of rain showers on Day 2. Now that the fields were a little smoother than Saturday, the players went out flying and charging every bid that they could possibly handle. I wrapped my camera with my trusty garbage bag and went out on the muddy field to enjoy the day with these daredevils. It was quite a lot of fun shooting under the rain again.

The action kept on improving by the minute as we were closing into the elimination rounds.  Now with a decent number of players in their line-up, team Mohawks began to rally up. Giving everyone a hard time. Team Ringers with Noel, Kim, and Russel are in control, managed to defeat the Dada led “Oldies But Goodies” in the semis. Mercenaries had a huge chance of moving on to the championship round, but their more experienced Ate's and Kuya's knocked them out in a very tight defensive battle in the semi-final round. Giving Mohawks the chance to go head to head with Team Ringers in the finals.

We are down to our last day and under this dark cloudy skies, the championship game of Saltimate Tres has begun. It was an exciting game in the beginning, but team Mohawks showed its teamwork and dominance as Jordan and the rest of Tagbilaran’s finest worked together to put on a huge lead and sealed the win! The Saltimate Tres Pool A Champions are Team Mohawks.

Maasin is much sweeter the second time around. Their outstanding hospitality the moment I arrived in Cebu, all the way to Hilongos and Maasin city. The help that they showed me from the start of this trip was beyond awesome. This year, they are definitely at the top of my list of cities that hosted really comfortable trips for me. To the people involved, I truly appreciate all the things that you did for me, and for making this tournament a much more improved than last year. Even the socials night was a lot of fun.

I genuinely had a great time in Maasin this year.

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