The Ultimate Experience: The Flying Plate Has Landed
Mr. Enzo Flojo, HS-CMSO Formation Staff and Xavier Ultimate Player
Posted Monday, 16-Oct-2006 7:19 AM
Last Sunday, October 8, 2006, Team Xavier Ultimate (XU) trooped to the Ayala Alabang Country Club Football Field for the Habagat Tournament Finals of the Philippine Ultimate Association.
A Familiar Feeling
After the first 3 weeks of competition where XU battled it out against 8 different teams, they found themselves in the thick of the race for the top spot in Pool B. Interestingly enough, but erstwhile unknown to them, this last weekend of Ultimate Frisbee action would be a re-run of sorts because they would face the exact same teams they played against just two weekends ago. These games, however, would carry more weight since XU’s championship hopes were hinged on whether or not they could sweep their opponents.
Huck You Too
The very first game of the day turned out to be the biggest as this match would greatly determine the fate of both teams, since a victory would assure at least a 4 th place finish in Pool B while a loss could bump a team down to as low as 8 th place. Compounding the drama was the fact that XU would be squaring off against their cross-metropolis school rivals from Katipunan – Huck You.
Both teams were known to be the youngest teams in the whole league since most of their players were still in high school, thus making it a virtual preview of the future stars of the local Frisbee scene. Also, because XU came from behind to defeat Huck You in their last match, 9-8, the Katipunan-based team was out for payback.
The early part of the contest saw both teams trading goals on their way to a 5-5 deadlock at halftime. Clearly, nobody was willing to give an inch to the other side. It had the makings of another down-the-wire affair.
The second half though, displayed the potential of XU as an up-and-coming team. Capitalizing on several key errors by Huck You, XU all but shut down their rivals’ offensive game. After pelting the endzone with one goal after another, XU nailed their first win of the day and entered the Pool B semi-finals with a 10-6 shellacking of Huck You.
This match’s highlights included Andrew Chan (H4A) being cemented as one of the top rookies of the league since he was involved in all 10 goals of XU (catching 8 and tossing 2). More seasoned players Perkin Chai (XS ’05) and Agu Veloso (XS ’06) also did a terrific job of piloting the efficient XU run-and-gun attack. Moreover, Agu anchored the stingy XU defense with 5 interceptions.
A Bittersweet Breakfast
XU’s next game would be versus another familiar foe – Breakfast Club (BC). Winning this game would mean that XU would gain entry into the Pool B Finals and play for 1st place. What’s more, in their last match, BC came back from a 3-6 deficit to hand XU their 4th loss of the tournament. This time around, it would be XU out for vengeance.
Like their earlier game, XU engaged BC in a goal-fest in the first 20 minutes. With each team unable to mount a run, and the defenses holding tight, the score was 6-5 in favor of XU at the interval.
Trying to exorcise their past demons against BC, XU tried valiantly to penetrate the endzone in the second half. The pink-clad BC players, however, had other things in mind as they constantly held top goal-catcher Andrew Chan in check and effectively suffocated the XU running game.
A 5-2 run gave BC a comfortable advantage, 10-8, heading into the final minutes of the match. It seemed all was lost until XU was able to end their scoring drought and slash the deficit to only one point, 10-9. A goal in the next sequence would mean overtime and a chance for XU to blast into the Pool Finals.
It was not to be though as BC composed themselves and methodically broke down XU’s defensive stand. They nailed the win, 11-9, and advanced to the 1st place match against TODA 1.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, but nevertheless a spirited effort from XU. Special mention goes to the ladies, who matched up really well against their more experienced counterparts. Shana Watts ( ICA ’07) caught 2 goals and Karen Choachuy ( ICA ’06) made one goal throw and one goal catch to help Coach Simoneil Mendoza’s cause.
Despite the loss, it was clear that XU would still be a strong contender for the next tournament’s top spot. Their last game of the day would determine the 3rd and 4th places for Pool B, and it would be against TODA 2.
The last time XU and TODA 2 met, XU outclassed their opponents, 11-8. This time though, it would not be so easy. During their initial meeting, TODA 2 lacked some key players and XU played with a complete hand, but for this match the tables would be turned.
XU’s stalwarts Andrew Chan and Agu Veloso had to leave because of prior commitments so XU’s lineup was considerably depleted. On the other hand, TODA 2 packed a full house as the key players missing from the last game reprised their roles as the squad’s main men for this match.
The first half of the game was a whirlwind, and XU was directly in its path. TODA 2’s tougher and speedier players erected a commanding 6-0 lead that almost deflated XU’s spirit.
In the second half, XU fought back tooth-and-nail and managed to trim the lead at 8-4 midway through the last canto. TODA 2 proved to be steadier though as they cruised to an 11-4 rout and eventually snatched 3rd place in Pool B while the visibly exhausted XU team dropped to 4th position.
Even if it was a truly humbling setback, a number of highlights could still be drawn from the game. With the absence of their more heralded teammates, the second unit of XU stepped up their game. Paolo Abrihan (H4C) led the charge with two goal catches while fellow seniors Dennis Tan (H4G) and BJ Kua (H4B) had 1 goal reception each. Perkin Chai played for the whole game, egging his team on despite their obvious disadvantage. If anything, XU displayed heart and grit all throughout.
Disc is In
And so, after 11 games in 4 weekends and 3 different venues, the maiden tournament of Xavier Ultimate comes to an end. After taking the 4th highest place in Pool B and ranked 14th overall out of 19 teams, XU will definitely be one of the teams-to-watch for the next league.
It was definitely a memorable first tourney for XU as they bested some more polished teams and held their own against tougher and more experienced clubs. Many people underestimated them, but through it all they rolled with the punches and managed a respectable finish.
Kudos goes to the Xaverians who bravely trooped to the fields almost every weekend, the ICA Alumnae who gracefully faced each daunting challenge on the pitch, the Xavier Faculty & Staff who gallantly played their hearts out against younger adversaries, the Xavier Alumni who tirelessly came back day in and day out to aid their beloved alma mater and, of course, the pioneering spirit of Mr. Simoneil Mendoza, without whom none of this would be possible.
The Flying Plate has landed, its maiden voyage a success. It has made its mark, but it shall not be grounded for long. Soon, it will rise again, out to reach even greater heights.
Team Xavier Ultimate
Playing Coach: Simoneil Mendoza (HS-Social Science)
Team Captain: Perkin Chai (XS ’05)
Gentlemen: Robbie Dela Cruz (HS-Science)
Enzo Flojo (HS-Campus Ministry and Service Office)
Exxon Yu (HS-Social Science)
Enrique Sola (XS ’04)
Jonathan Loh (XS ’06)
Zeke Yap (H4A)
BJ Kua (H4B)
Paolo Abrihan (H4C)
Kaiser Sy (H4C)
Sam Go (H4D)
Bam Santos (H4D)
Dennis Tan (H4G)
Ladies: Aimee Apolinario (HS-Asst.Principal for Academics)
Joney Pusta (HS-Guidance)
Karen Choachuy (ICA ’06)
Erica Goyokpin (ICA ’06)
Des Llanos-Dee (ICA ’06)
Ick Liao ( ICA ’06)
Ruth Tan ( ICA ’06)
Steph Syling (ICA ’06)
Shana Watts (ICA ’08)
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