The second leg of fighting game tournament SummerSalt 2017 was held last March 18, 2017 at The Pad. The event showcased the Philippines' best contenders in Mortal Kombat XL, Blazblue: Central Fiction and Street Fighter V.

Let's take a look at what went down!

Blazblue: Central Fiction

I always love watching high-level Blazblue play.

This tournament was as predictable as it could have been though, as Manila Cup 2016 champion Alden stood atop a 24-player pool. His dominance was on full display as he never lost a match in the tournament.

It's worth noting however that Alden was forced to switch it up and use a different character, Nine, during his match with Vaten.Blitzer in round 4 of the winner's bracket onwards. At the end of the day however, not even the demon of the north could unseat the Philippines'
Blazblue king. Alden's Nine still has one of the craziest wall defenses I have ever seen and it looks like the man is ready for another Manila Cup win.

Speaking of the demon of the north, Vaten.Blitzer had a good play during his return to the tournament scene, making an impressive run across a gauntlet of strong Blazblue players. He took out rivals IPT. Gelo and IPT. Chase before falling twice to Blazblue king Alden, proving that he is still one of the best players in the country.

IPT.VS. Gelo may have fallen to Blitzer but it was honestly a toss-up between the two, as it was no surprise that they were fighting it out in the finals of the loser's bracket. Gelo also went on a tear across the tournament, as the country's best Valk dismantled every opponent he had that wasn't Blitzer or Alden.

Mortal Kombat XL

No surprises in this tournament as Imperium Pro Teams' Migosan took home the top prize again, proving that he is still the best Mortal Kombat player in the Philippines. Armed with his extensive knowledge of the game, he plowed through the 15-man tournament with relative ease.

History repeated itself as Migo got matched up again with Symonomicon in the grand finals. A young gun who started building himself a solid reputation in the Mortal Kombat scene, Symonomicon had an impressive run in the tournament.  He defeated veterans IPT. Promilkid and PBE.MusashiJoe to earn a shot at taking down Migo.

He wasn't able to banish his second place curse though, as he was swept in the final match of the tournament. Curse aside, Symonomicon is getting better and looks to be on his way to being a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine Mortal Kombat scene.

Imperium Pro Team's James AKA "Promilkid" meanwhile, took out IPT.VSG. Martin and CG.Champo to claim third place after a solid showing in the tournament.

Street Fighter V

SummerSalt 2017's Street Fighter tournament didn't disappoint as it had all the crazy moments one would expect when the best players in the country seriously try to take each other out.

Unsurprisingly, the tournament had a high 32-player pool, once again proving that Street Fighter V is still the most popular fighting game in the country.

The tournament was wild and the matches were all at a high level, but pretty soon the experienced players were setting themselves apart. With an impressive top 16 remaining, it became apparent that some big names were about to be taken out early.

As the top eight emerged, it was obvious that the results of the tournament would hinge on the matchups. The gap in skills between the remaining eight players was so small that the tiniest mistake could have the most terrible consequences, but it also meant for some insanely great matches.

Imperium Pro Team's Yoshi won the tournament in a convincing fashion as he took out every player sent at him. With some of the zaniest Urien mix ups I have ever seen in my life, Yoshi displayed not only a mastery of the character he wields but also his knowledge of the game's engine.

Coming in at second place was Pad's Ace; as he proved once again that he is Pad's best Street Fighter player and also the best Birdie player in the Philippines. The man was responsible for sending fellow top 8 finishers Manza, Keno, and Bombie to the Loser's bracket.

Imperium Pro Team's Manza had the most interesting run in the tournament though, as he went on a series of crazy, entertaining wins against some of the tournament's strongest players.

He continuously pulled out trick after trick from his hat, causing a lot of confused and annoyed shrugs from his opponents. The highlight in his run however came from his match with PBE.Bombie. Manza pulled off a series of insane, improbable, and admittedly lucky moves as he decided to mix things up by changing his primary character, Ibuki, to his second best character, Laura, after Bombie's Dhalsim tied it up to one game a piece.

The move immediately paid off as Manza took the third set behind a series of crazy grabs. Bombie wasn't done yet though as he quickly adjusted and tied it again. The final match was one of the craziest Street Fighter matches I have ever seen. After falling in the first round, Manza came back to win it all behind another series of insane grabs, each one more impressive than the next.

The win advanced him to the losers' semi-finals where he did it again; this time against MasterPogi's Guile. This one wasn't as flashy as the previous match but was still as spectacular. The crowd roared as he came back from a 2-0 deficit and pulled off three straight wins. Manza outlasted Masterpogi to secure himself a guaranteed third place finish.

SummerSalt 2017 was a massive success. The quality of players and their continuously improving skills prove that the fighting game community in the Philippines is not only alive but thriving as well. Beyond their fighting skills, it's the quality of the individuals in this community that further cements my belief that the Philippine fighting game scene has a very bright future. And from what I've seen, the players are just getting started. With the Manila Cup just a few months away, I'm excited to see what else these guys have up their sleeves. 

About the author: Don Cabuhat

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