Huck O Hunyo 9: The Lucky 7 at Hucky 9

Seven Teams.

Yes, there were only seven teams for this year’s, Huck O Hunyo. On its nine years of existence, this was probably the smallest number of participants that came out to play. We all even fit in one grandstand, teams don't need to go far to find shade to settle in when they’re not playing. Four teams from Panay and three from Negros battled it out, and though there were only seven teams and a few guests from Manila, Cebu, and Boracay, the atmosphere was a lot of fun with many familiar faces came by to support the tournament, and of course the healthy rivalry between Panay and Negros teams were always fun to watch.

I stayed for the full morning schedule of Day 1, but I have to leave for another shooting coverage that day. Good thing Nico was also in town, so he came by to support the Iloilo tournament and photographed the second half of the day. There were a lot of fun matchups especially when a Panay and Negros team going at it. But the nicest thing about having only seven teams is that you can actually see who has the real potential to follow the footsteps of the likes of Qhenjune Villanueva who dominated Huck O Hunyo for years. There were a couple that has the potential to go all the way. I just hope that they will have a chance to get more exposure and experiences by playing in some higher level tournaments in the coming years.

Day 2 opened with a quick heavy downpour that gave the opening game lots of puddle of water and mud. But rain doesn't really bother these kids anymore. They came to Iloilo city to do what they do best, play hard ultimate all day long. And so they did.

After a few knock out games and lots of laughs from friends, the finals of Huck O Hunyo 9 was finally set. And yes you guessed it, it’s Panay vs Negros once again. But this time though, the young boys and girls of Boracay NexGen together with some Huck O Hunyo Veterans like Ronan Batralo, Gayang Batralo, Sophie Sacapano, Sheila Gascon, Gio Golez and HG Villarin to name a few came to their aid to go head to head with Bacolod City’s top team and a regular in Huck O Hunyo championship rounds, Team Kaiju.

It was an exciting and high flying match up between these two teams as both played really well on both ends of the pitch. At the early part of the game, Team SB (Boracay) had a comfortable lead but the experienced Kaiju bounced back and equalized the playing field. The game intensified as the crowd stood up from their seats and both teams found themselves lining up for the last universe point of the tournament. As the pitch goes dark and muddy, Sheila Gascon snuck herself on the right side of the end zone to spoil the Kaiju’s retaliation from last years loss against the top team of Iloilo, Panay Intensity and gave Team SB their first ever Huck O Hunyo title.

Hats off and kudos to Huck Organizers! Though they only have seven teams this year, they didn’t give up. Did not cancel the tournament or heard any complaints from them. They stood up from the challenge and made it work. Because for them, it´s all about giving everyone a great experience when they visit Iloilo. Seeing old teammates and friends, and spreading the good word about Ultimate to new players. It was actually great to hear that there are new teams building up from two other towns in Iloilo now. Great news for IUPA and for the rest of the community. To Novea, Noynoy, Juan, Razen and the rest of the organizers, I just hope that you will continue in organizing Huck O Hunyo in the coming years. You may have the smallest number of teams this year, But I believe that Huck will be great again.

I just hope that you believe it too.

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Lambay Ultimate Frisbee Tournament 2018. A weekend in Tubigon.

I didn’t expect anything grand on my last tournament of the month (After a weekend break from “Saltimate” in Maasin, my month of May started with Nationals in Bacolod, then a football match in Iloilo, to “Daba Daba” in Davao, and “Boracay Open” in Zambales). It´s my first visit in Tubigon, Bohol and the only thing that I wanted to do was to go out there, shoot the tournament and go home. Yup, nothing fancy at all. 

But boy, I was wrong. And so glad I was.

The moment I arrived in Tubigon port from Cebu city, I was welcomed by the tournament organizer, Emil Fucanan, whom originally was planning to give me a garland as a welcome gift. I was so glad he didn't.  (I mean it was a nice gesture. Thank you, but please, don't do that. Hehehe) Together with Emil, who organized the tournament single-handedly was a couple of good folks in a van from Drossgold Pension where I am going to stay. They immediately helped me with my bags and offered me a ride in their shuttle. After a few minutes, a group of kids from Cebu came rushing into the van trying to escape the summer afternoon sun. Me, together with a bunch of Team Sadakrab were dropped off at our respective places to stay for a quick rest before the Captains Meeting. The day ended with a short but sweet captains meeting at Sea Drake Restaurant where the captains were given a feast sponsored by the said restaurant. 

It was actually a pretty good start.

Again, Day 1 is always a slow start for most tournaments. And most of the time, you can immediately see which teams will go for the long haul... With 16 teams coming from Bohol, Cebu, a few players from Dipolog, Dumaguete and other parts of Visayas. The games were actually fun. After two straight weekends of an intense shooting of Ultimate, the intensity of “Lambay Ultimate” games was just right. Emil managed to get the whole classrooms around the playing fields of Tubigon Elementary School to house the visiting teams for free for three nights. And that right there was a pretty good deal, indeed. 

This would never be an “All About U” blog post if we are not going to talk about the weather.  For the fourth straight weekend, I got knocked out by the great ball of fire, as the sun continued to blaze it´s glory wherever there´s an Ultimate tournament. Finally, the heat really took its toll on me and guess what? It's the first day. I know that I was in trouble because I felt a little light headed around noon. But a bottle of soda, a litter of water and a few minutes of rest under the command center tent did the trick. And don't forget the very delicious seafood lasagna and tuna sandwich from Bee Farm for lunch, definitely the bomb! 

The Shooting continues.

After trying to photograph every team on the first day, It´s all about the knock out games on Day 2. “Innernational (Ringer) Team”- A-Team went on full battle mode as team Mohawks of Tagbilaran city showed everyone why they are the best team in Bohol. But what really impressed me the most about “Bohol Ultimate” was their young talents. Yes, we always talk about the talented kids in Tayasan, Bais, and Dumaguete in Negros, but Bohol has their own group of young kids that can actually compete. I really had a great time watching Team Mercenaries and Gladiators play during the Lambay Weekend. They improved a lot since the last time I saw some of them in Maasin. Both boys and girls were so athletic and so much fun to watch. With the help of their ate´s and kuya´s I´m sure these kids will go the distance in Ultimate. 

The Pool A finals between Mohawks and A-team was intense. Intense to the point where after a few lead changes from both teams, some of them forgot the reason why we loved the game in the first place. I don't want to elaborate what happened because seriously, it´s not worth our time. But in my own opinion, there will always be a good and better way to settle things on the field. Especially when a majority of the participants in the tournament are much younger than most of us. Set an example and let the Spirit of The Game always guide you. 

After everything was said and done, the game went on universe point with team Mohawks celebrating in the end and called themselves Champions of the first ever “Lambay Ultimate Frisbee Tournament”.

The little town of Tubigon is quiet, simple yet a lot of good things to offer. Their hospitality was off the charts. The food was amazing. And if you get a chance to visit, don´t forget to ask if where can you get some Takla and Lambay -absolutely delicious. Get to know the history of Tubigon through the stories of the old folks around town, and just enjoy the simple things Tubigon has to offer. 

The “Lambay Ultimate Frisbee Tournament” still has a little room for improvement.  But with Emil leading the organizing committee and with the help of the Bohol Ultimate community especially with the never-ending guidance from Beryl, Jordan and the rest, I have no doubt that the future of “Lambay Ultimate Frisbee Tournament” will do just fine. 

I´m pretty sure they will surprise me again when I get a chance to visit them in the future. But this year, I really had a great time. 

This blog post was “broken through” by Agile Gear.

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