The first National Championship was a first for all of us and for the entire Philippine Ultimate community. We did not know what to expect, but we told ourselves to just do our best, play as hard as we could without much strategy and training, and just strive to win all our games with the best of spirit. Fortunately, we got in the Finals but lost to a hard-fought game on a universal point. After the first Nationals, hope soared for all of us as we brought home the title of 2nd best team in the Philippine Ultimate scene, so confidence grew for Extreme and our hopes for bringing home the title as Best Ultimate Team in the Philippines got higher. We did not train much for either the 1st and 2nd Nationals. We just relied on our basic knowledge of the game and team chemistry. Remember that we Extreme only go to three major tournaments in the Philippines: Manila Spirits, Nationals, and our own tournament, Shindig, in Dumaguete City. So we rarely get the chance to gauge our team’s overall performance.
The 2nd National Championships came last year and we had little idea of things to come and what teams to look out for. We had a good start to all our games, but unfortunately we lost one of the most important games in our pool, and fell short of our goal of making it into another Finals appearance. That said, our thoughts grew deeper and our understanding for the competitive nature and lifestyle of the sport grew even more. Maturity started to sink in. For us to win this sought-after ultimate dream of being National champions, we had to mature as athletes and as individuals. We started looking at nutritional points to lessen cramps and injuries which hindered us in the past, and we began to train physically, strategically, and most of all, emotionally.
Our mindset in preparing for the 3rd Nationals was mainly: “the only thing that can beat you is yourself.”
That’s where we started.
Fear was always there. Fear or coming up short, both as a team and in our personal challenges. This is what we all felt although no one will admit it.
Individual training was always what we pushed, because we don’t have the same schedules to train physically as a team—so it all came down to game day on who wanted it more and how we could push each other as a team and as a family. For us, team is family after all.
The 3rd Nationals came, and we said: “This is it. This is what we have been waiting for.” The strategy was always to have good spirit, and to never let bad spirit get the better of us—we all know this. Anybody who plays Ultimate knows this. In Ultimate, winning is not everything. What is important is what you learn and what you bring with you after the day ends. For this is what keeps this hunger for Ultimate alive. That’s what I believe. That’s what pushed Extreme as we came into the 3rd Nationals. We played it one game at a time. We never let our spirit down, and never underestimated any team. We always gave it our all. Every team we played against, we gave our respect—win or lose. We knew what we had to do coming into this tournament. We just had to fix what needed to be fixed, go out 100% in every game, accept all outcomes whether win or lose, and just stay positive.
Written by: John “Dada” David
Dumaguete Extreme: Our Road to the 3rd National Championship