When I Say Thrilla, You Say Manila

By Lester Sualog

With high-level competition and a notoriously wild tournament party, Lester Sualog breaks down what to expect from the 2017 Manila Spirits this weekend

‘Thrilla in Manila’ – most likely, this is what everyone thinks about when coming to the Philippines November each year to play at the Manila Spirits. However, for some, Manila Spirits has moved beyond just a 'thrilla', becoming more of an annual tradition. Larger than life, Spirits is the biggest Ultimate Frisbee tournament on grass fields in Southeast Asia! The tournament is a three-day, mixed division (only) event with two big pools: Power Pool and Recreational Pool.

Check out this video of last year's action:

The top four seeds of the Power Pool this year are expected to provide great performances and intense competition. We'll be treated to spectacle when international pick up teams, Black Flag (defending champion) and Mixed Nuts (2016 1st runner up), face off against the local Filipino clubs, Mulatto and Boracay Bandits (as third and fourth seed respectively). Mulatto is the 2017 AOUGCC mixed division champion and Boracay Bandits is 1st runner up. 

Sunken Pleasure, a key Filipino club team with a record number of wins at the Philippines Mixed National Championships, will have a slightly different line-up this year due to the absence of power players, Xtian Guerrero and Kevin (Popoy) Pascua, both on tournament time-off due to injuries.

When asked about his goal in Manila Spirits this year, legendary captain and player Jason 'J-Lo' Lopez of Mixed Nuts said that his aim is “to have fun and winning is fun.”  

On the other side of the draw, the Recreational Pool this year promises to add more colour and great fun to the tournament. Defending champion Love Parade (headed by Kash Eef and yours truly) will continue to push for #lovewins advocacy, but may not be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with undefeated party champs, The Designated Drinkers, on Saturday night. While there are a lot of neophyte teams in the Recreational Pool this year, a recently formed team of legacy old farts, called For Old Time’s Sake, is out to prove that nothing beats age and experience.

Hosted by the Philippine Flying Disc Association (PFDA), the Manila Spirits tournament will run from Nov. 17 to 19 at the Alabang Country Club, Muntinlupa City.

Image provided by All About U.