It was a busy two days for the Philippine fighting game community this past weekend with two events taking place. First off, the Road to Manila Cup 2017 continued on with three games featured at two different locations. Tekken was the main attraction over at Chill In Game Station in Taft. Meanwhile over at Playbook Circuit Makati, tournaments for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Injustice 2 went underway. Apart from the local scene, Playbook Esports’ Alexandre “AK” Laverez and Andreij “Doujin” Albar attended Abuget Cup 2017 over at Jakarta. Here’s our rundown of the events that happened this weekend.
Road to Manila Cup
Kicking things off this weekend were the Road to Manila Cup tournaments this past Saturday. One month is all that's left before the big bash this September, and everybody's going all out to get their hands on those free registration slots. Here’s our low down on the fifth stop of the tournament circuit.
Injustice 2 – Cosmic Gorgons’ Ninno dominates with Cheetah
The second leg of the Injustice 2 qualifying tournaments was held over at Playbook Circuit Makati. Grand finals came down to Cosmic Gorgons’ Ninno “HollywoodHaiku” Rodriguez on Cheetah and Miguel “Alpha MJB” Bautista using Batman and Black Adam.
The set started off pretty close with MJB clutching it out with Batman after getting a huge jump in opening. Unfortunately for MJB however, this was all he was going to get throughout their set. It only took one game for Ninno to adapt as he went on the offensive. Cheetah’s intense rush down was too much for MJB to handle. It also didn’t help that MJB kept pressing buttons on wake up, that left him open several times for Ninno’s attack.
MJB tried to adapt by switching to Black Adam, using his zoning game in an attempt to keep Cheetah at a safe range. It seemed to be effective, as MJB gained the advantage in health in the closing moments of the fourth game. Unfortunately for him however, Ninno managed to get a knockdown off of a grab. Ninno anticipated that MJB would do something on wake up, and sure enough the read was correct. This led to a big combo for Ninno, winning him three games straight and resetting the bracket.
MJB would be unable to bounce back and stop Ninno’s momentum. Cheetah took three games straight during the bracket reset giving Ninno the win and the free slot in Manila Cup.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – Cheese electrifies the competition
For Super Smash Bros., grand finals came down to REV Major grand finalist Justin “Cheese” Labad on Pikachu going up against Carlos “BunnyC” Serrano using a variety of characters.
The first match ended with a pretty convincing win for Cheese who managed to two stock BunnyC’s Ganondorf without much trouble. Cheese took advantage of Pikachu’s and Ganondorf’s poor recovery to take game one. For game two, BunnyC opted to go for Pit. While this was definitely a much closer game compared to the first, Cheese managed to clutch it out in the end with a side smash to catch Pit’s recovery from a forward air attack.
Now at the brink of being eliminated, BunnyC made another character switch, this time to Link. Game three had a rocky start for BunnyC, who failed to recover thanks to Pikachu’s good edgeguarding tools. Despite losing first stock, BunnyC managed to come together and win game three with a forward smash to punish Cheese’s unsafe recovery.
Now down to the last match, BunnyC returned to Pit hoping that this time he would be able to best Cheese. While it may have been a good move in order to prevent Cheese from adapting, it didn’t work out as BunnyC hoped. Their fourth game played out very similarly to their second, and one final up smash won Cheese the tournament and secured his slot for September.
Tekken 7 – Legion’s Hapon wins after an intense grand finals.
A small gaming lounge tucked away in Taft Avenue, Chill-In Game Station this past weekend was abuzz with excitement as players came out for the tournament. The small venue was packed as participants eagerly waited to be called for their matches. Because of the number of entrants, instead of the usual champion taking the prize, the top two placers instead would be getting free slots. After a series of intense matches, grand finals came down to a team kill between clan Legion members; Michael John "Hapon" Magbanua on Kazumi and Elijah "Haji" Espera on Nina and Lucky Chloe. Despite both of them having secured their slots, both still took the grand finals with the same fervor. What resulted was the most nail-biting set of the night.
grand finals match starts at 2:04:23
Their bout started off with game one going to Hapon, who took out Haji’s Nina with the greatest of ease. Seeing the pick as ineffective, Haji opted to go back to Lucky Chloe. Many were unsure if this was the proper pick, as Hapon had already beaten him earlier in winner’s finals when he used the same character. Haji proved the doubters wrong as he would go on to win the next three games, with a clutch comeback in game 4 and a straight three round finish in game five to reset the bracket.
It would take one more game before Hapon was able to stop Haji’s momentum, and even then it came down to the last round. The next game would play out similarly, only this time it would be Haji who came out on top. Down two one and the tournament on the line, Hapon managed to collect himself and win game four after a clutch block during Lucky Chloe’s rage art. Now at the final game of the night, Hapon managed to win a crucial exchange at the end of round three. From there, he rushed down Haji during the final round to take the tournament.
Hapon (Red) and Haji (Blue)
This weekend, the Road to Manila Cup will be taking place in three venues featuring four different games. Tekken 7 will be happening over at Playbook Circuit Makati, Cosmic Gorgons will be hosting Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mortal Kombat XL, and Chill In Game station will be having the third leg of the Blazblue Central Fiction Qualifying Tournaments.
Abuget Cup 2017
Following up on Saturday’s events, the top 8 for Tekken at Abuget Cup over in Jakarta was held this past Sunday. Doujin once again stole the show as he showcased his talents to the international audience watching. His journey on top 8 began by eliminating Tani “Tanukana” Kana then going up against his own teammate AK, who was sent to loser’s by Korea’s Bae Jae “Knee” Min. He would go on to beat AK and move on to losers finals. Waiting for him was a familiar face: Echo Fox’s own Jin Woo “Saint” Choi. If Doujin hoped to get a shot at grand finals, he would have to do a repeat performance of their encounter in Rage Art.
Things were already off to an unusual start as Doujin pulled out a character nobody ever thought they’d see: Gigas. Doujin made the Red giant work as he took game one over Saint after a shocking comeback that ended with a rage art punish. Saint however would be able to adjust immediately, taking out Doujin in game two. Doujin tried to adjust by switching to Dragunov, but it proved ineffective as Saint took three rounds straight to put himself ahead 2 – 1.
Doujin was backed to a corner. With no more games to give, he bet everything on Shaheen. It was the right call, and Doujin took the next game cleanly to tie the set 2 -2. This time, it was Saint who was forced to adapt, opting to go for Bob. Doujin’s hotstreak continued for the first two rounds, until it was stopped dead on its tracks by a Perfect round from Saint. Doujin wasn’t deterred, and answered back. He managed to get into Saint’s head after getting three slides in a row. An unsafe launcher opened Saint up for a final combo, and Doujin proceeded on to grand finals.
Unfortunately, Knee proved to be too much for Doujin, who beat the Filipino 3 games straight to take the championship.
While he may not have won the tournament, Doujin’s performance is nothing to be disappointed by. Going toe to toe and beating some of the best players in the world is all the more proof that Philippines is not to be underestimated. Continued experience and training, and our country has a solid chance of being considered the strongest when it comes to Tekken.