Article contributed by Gab Lazaro
The hype couldn’t be derailed this past Saturday as part two of Summer Salt went underway over at Playpad in Mandaluyong. Featured games this time around were Blazblue Central Fiction, Mortal Kombat XL and Street Fighter V. An even bigger and all the more eager crowd flocked to the small establishment, rearing to get in on the action.
Blazblue: Central Fiction
Imperium Pro Team’s (IPT) Alden Jacob won the first major Blazblue tournament of the year to continue his dominance from 2016. Alden ran through the competition proving once again why he’s currently the number one ranked player in the Southeast Asia Region.
Left to right: IPT.Alden, IPT.MacArthur and Vaten.Blitzer
Going into grand finals, Alden came up against Carlo Rey “Vaten.Blitzer” Navarro and his Hibiki. “I considered unpredictability to be Carl’s strongest point.” Alden says in the post-match interview. In order to adapt, Alden made a character switch, going from his signature Mu-12 to the explosive witch, Nine the Phantom. “Hibiki can go against most of Mu-12’s tools. I was also afraid to apply pressure since Carl knows how to counter them well. I went to Nine, aiming to keep him at a safe range and tone down the randomness.” The adaptation proved to Alden’s favor, as he took the set three games to one.
However, Alden expressed dissatisfaction at the absence of two particular players, Jaime “Lardbucket” Tropezado and his own teammate, IPT’s Robert “Blickwinkel” Andrada. It was Lardbucket who eliminated Alden back in Brawlfest at ESGS 2016 last year, his first local tournament since being crowned the Southeast Asia Major Champion. On the other hand, Blickwinkel claimed the same title back in 2014, and he also won last year’s Blazblue event at Brawlfest after defeating Lardbucket in grand finals.
“While I’m happy I won since I worked hard for the win, it feels kind of lacking without these two competitors in attendance.” Alden says.
Alden hopes to continue growing the local scene as well as further improve as a player going into 2017. “It’s really a great time for the scene. There are a lot of new blood showing up.” Alden says. “There’s one new player going by the name of Capman, and he got top 5 in this tournament. Considering that he only started about a month ago and this is his first real experience in competition, I’d say that’s impressive.”
“Philippine scene had a strong showing towards the end of the year. We need to keep the momentum going.” When asked for his advice for newer players, Alden says don’t be afraid of losing. “Join tournaments, just keep on persevering, get rid of your ego and keep getting better“
Following his teammate’s footsteps, IPT’s Migo Macayan also went on to prove why he’s still the man to beat in Mortal Kombat. Arguably the number one NRS fighting game player in the country, Migo went through a tear on the brackets all the way to grand finals. Symon Peter “Symonomicon” Tubon.
Apart from his prowess as a player, Migo is also considered as one of the most passionate individuals in the local FGC. Many accredit him and his brothers, Marcus and Martin, for keeping the NRS Fighting game scene alive, through Injustice and the previous iteration of Mortal Kombat. His love for the game eventually attracted other players to join in, slowly growing the community to where it is now.
This is Migo’s second championship for 2017. You can be sure that the two time Manila Cup Mortal Kombat Champion will be hoping to continue this momentum for the rest of the year.
Street Fighter V
Grand finals for the Street Fighter V (SFV) came down to a face-off between Playpad’s own Ace Jabson and IPT’s Joshua “Yoshi1995” Rappert. It was Yoshi who initially sent Ace into the loser’s bracket in order to get to grand finals. Over at loser’s side, Ace beat Yoshi’s teammate Michael Anthony Manzana to get another shot at beating him and winning the championship. Unfortunately for Ace, grand finals played out like their earlier encounter. Yoshi and his Urien proved too much for him to handle. A final pressure string with an Aegis Reflector opens up Ace, giving Yoshi the set three games to one and the top spot for Summer Salt 2017.
“Ace is a really good player. I believe that Birdie is one of the weaker characters. The fact that he makes it work just shows how skilled he really is.” Yoshi says. Urien was the star of the show according to Yoshi. “I believe that the character match up heavily favors Urien. His tools can keep Birdie at a safe range when he wants to. Once he gets in and sets up his Aegis Reflector, it’s pretty hard for Birdie to deal with.”
Left to Right: IPT.Manza, IPT.Yoshi1995 and Pad.Ace
Yoshi will be aiming to attend as many events as possible for 2017. “Please don’t be afraid to go to events. Even I was really shy at first. But the community has been really great and welcoming. I hope we get more exposure and more people join in.”
IPT was the biggest winner of day 2, claiming several top spots in all games
Aftermath and Future Plans
Tournament organizers John Mark Frianeza and Angelo Baldonado were quite happy with how the event turned out. From an idea that started from a casual drinking session with friends 5 years ago, Summer Salt has slowly began to establish itself as one of the annual events the local Philippine FGC looks forward to. “Compared to how it started back in 2010, it’s really heartening to see where we are now.” Angelo explains. “There’s definitely more things we can improve on and room for growth, but seeing how active the community is and how many people participate compared to previous years, it’s great.”
John and Angelo also commented on how driven the players are to improve themselves for the sake of competition, as well as representing their own country and teams in events. “I can confidently say that the Philippine community is coming along nicely and establishing itself as being on par with international talent.” Angelo says.
When asked about the next event, Angelo mentions that something is already being worked on for this coming May. “Just stay tuned for announcements” they both mentioned.
John and Gelo hope that more people will come out to attend events. “We know that it’s really intimidating to get into fighting games. It’s hard and there’s no easy way to get better. The number one thing I can tell new people who want to try to get into fighting games, don’t be afraid to lose. It’s when we lose that we actually see where we need to improve and grow as a player.” John says. “Just keep it up, and let’s have fun together!”