Out of over 100 fighters that competed in the recently concluded Ultra Street Fighter IV (USFIV) tournament at the Manila Cup 2015, five Japanese players, two Chinese representatives, and a lone Hong Kong bet made their way to the Top 8 of the tournament brackets.
Japan’s Tonpy, who is also the highest ranked player in the tournament, took the championship after sweeping through the competition and overcoming Hong Kong’s CCG.Humanbomb.
Tonpy, currently ranked 22 in the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT) standings, opened his Top 8 run against fellow Japanese competitor Reiketsu. The latter’s Yang was no match to Tonpy’s C. Viper set ups, forcing him to switch out to Vega after losing in the first game of the match. Another loss gave Reiketsu no choice but to go to his main character Poison, but Tonpy was more than ready to meet the challenge. He sent Reiketsu to the Loser’s Bracket, 3-2, and faced Humanbomb at Winner’s Final.
The first encounter of these two top players was a total nailbiter, with the first game of the race-to-three match ending with a double-KO. Tonpy eventually found his groove and beat Humanbomb in the next two games giving him the 2-0 lead. The first round of the fourth game saw both players giving it all they’ve got resulting in another double-KO in the first round, but Tonpy’s Viper eventually overran the opposing Sakura, 3-0, to win a seat at the Grand Finals.
Humanbomb found himself at the Loser’s Bracket against Japan’s NISHIKIN. The HK standout held his ground against the Japanese Blanka player in the first game, but NISHIKIN, not to be counted out, traded rounds and games with equal skill and tenacity. However, the fighting game god’s favored Humanbomb as he knocked out NISHIKIN, 3-2, at the fifth and final game of the match, allowing him to have another shot at Tonpy at the Grand Final.
At the first game of the final round, it was obvious that Tonpy has Humanbomb’s number, taking both rounds. The Hong Kong player then, to the surprise of the crowd, switched to Ryu in the second game. This change in character and style caught Tonpy off-guard which led to Humanbomb resetting the bracket with a 3-1 win.
On the second set of the Grand Final, Tonpy showed just why he’s a top contender. Again, even with Humanbomb’s Ryu on deck, he sweeped the opening game of the set. He made the right adjustments to his gameplan and eventually took the championship, 3-1.
Another highlight of the tournament was the highly anticipated match between r/Kappa.stormKubo and ItabashiZangief. Labeled by the audience as “The Battle of the Giants”, Kubo’s Hugo and ItaZan’s Zangief gave the crowd a showcase of grappling expertise. Kubo’s Hugo took the first two games by applauding himself to victory with Hugo’s claps and precise anti-air timing. But after two rounds of kissing the ground, ItaZan overcame Kubo’s anti-air game and punished his claps with Screw Piledrivers, sending him on a three-game streak for the win.
The lack of a Philippine contingent at the top 8 is no indication of a lack of talent. Four Filipinos, IPT.Garret, James Prado, IPT.Dru, and Keno Echaluse, made it to the top 16 and faced off against the best that the international competitors had to offer. It all boiled down to who had the most experience, and with the Manila Cup being the Philippines’ first International tournament, that’s what most of the local players had lacking. But, as we all know, there is no shame in losing against the best. Let’s take what we have learned in this Manila Cup and use it in future tournaments of this caliber.