An unforgettable typhoon tournament. an afterparty, and a day full of activities served on a silver platter. The Manila Flag Football League, better known as “MFL” debuted last September 3, at the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub.
The much-awaited tournament welcomed over a hundred athletes from 8 teams to the battlefield that day,
The GODs led by captain Gabe Borromeo, The Rebels led by captain Geoff Carbonell, Team Anessa led by captain Angel Roman, Team New Era led by captain Zach Thibodeau, Team RAW led by captain Edlen Hernandez, The Cebu Jaguars led by captain Keneth Sevila, The Baetas led by captain Joseph Sy, The Rhinos led by captain Pereme Alina
The Manila Flag Football League put together a tournament that has never been done before. From a polished program to a full activity area to freebies for both athletes and spectators and an afterparty we’ll never forget.
The tournament started off with an opening ceremony hosted by Miss Tourism Worldwide 2018, Zara Carbonell & Mr. Speaks. After the athletes we’re welcomed into the tournament through the MFL opening ceremony, they were set off to play in a round-robin pool where each team went up against everyone in their bracket. This later on determined their standing and decided their fate as to who they will be facing in the elimination round where only the top 4 teams will move forward into the semi finals.
By 11 AM, the terrain on the battlefield came with unprecedented circumstances as heavy rain started to pour. This tested a lot of the athletes’ speed, skills, and fervor for the game. Athletes were sliding through the mud left and right to make crucial catches and flag snatches. The rain may have been coming in quick, but these athletes were unstoppable.
After the round robin pool play a 45-minute field break commenced, giving athletes, referees, and spectators the chance to mingle and visit all the booths available to them at the activity area. Some chose to fuel up with some food, others grabbed a bottle of Mahou, the others decided to get a body massage, the others kept warm with a cup of Brew Boy coffee, others went through challenging terrains of their own with Anessa’s on-site hurdles, and so much more. Needless to say there was not a dull moment on that field that day.
After the field break, the athletes brought their A-game to the playoffs where every game was a must-win for each team to secure a spot onto the next round. After the knockout round, only 4 teams were left standing: The GODs, New Era, the Cebu Jaguars, and the Rhinos.
The semi finals came around and the GODs went toe-to-toe against New Era. This was a match to watch given that both teams had veteran players on their rosters with the likes of Trent Frankum, Gabe Borromeo, Steve Near, and Zach Thibodeau, every possession felt like a do-or-die minute. But when the final whistle was blown, New Era emerged victorious.
Meanwhile, on the other field the Rhinos battled it out with the Cebu Jaguars to a really tight game where the Cebu Jaguars scored 13 points in the first half. On the second half, the Rhinos fought tooth and nail to make a great come back bringing them up to two touchdowns in the second half, giving the Cebu Jaguars only a 1-point advantage. An advantage that later on brought them to the championships against New Era.
The New Era (left) versus The Cebu Jaguars (right)
The New Era and the Cebu Jaguars played 25-minute halves into the championship round. Each team had their fair share of catches, interceptions, sliding through the mud, and even ball drops. After 50 minutes of flag football the game concluded with a final score of 19-6, in favor of New Era making them the very first MFL Champions.
The 12-hour tournament culminated with an awarding ceremony and an afterparty led by Christian Ty & DJ Duane Insane and a special performance from international recording artist - February Bank.
MFL’s Inagural awardees were as follows:
Best Rusher - Nina Juan from the Rhinos
Best Quarterback - Pereme Alina from the Rhinos
Best Receiver - Francis Solis from the Cebu Jaguars
Best Defensive Player - Khalief Stamps from New Era
Tournament MVP (Male) - Rich Hardin from New Era
Tournament MVP (Female) - Tessa Jones from New Era
Coming in third place is the Rhinos led by captain Pereme Alina
Ranked second is the Cebu Jaguars led by captain Keneth Sevila
And MFL’s very first champions are none other than New Era led by captain Zachary Thibodeau
The MFL Champions are winning a weekend getaway at Blackwood Nature Homes and a celebratory weekend in Cebu’s Tuyom by Hostel 7. To top that off, the MFL champions were treated to a special victory dinner at Alamat, Poblacion.
What a weekend it has been for the whole flag football community! Congratulations to all the awardees, teams, and the whole community. Here’s to more milestones!
The flag football community is always open to athletes from all walks of life. If you’re one to explore a new sport and might want to try out flag football or someone who’s looking for a tournament to be a part of - Manila Flag Football is waiting for you. Follow them on Instagram at @ManilaFlagFootball and sign up for the next tournament. #WeAreMFL!