By: Women’s Fitness Philippines

Flag football has never been this big, but with the Manila Flag Football League’s grand launch, something tells us it’s here to stay. MFL officially launched last September 3rd at the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub where 8 teams went at it to claim that coveted inaugural championship. MFL may be a new player to the community, but it’s definitely not new to sports because by the look of the tournament they just mounted, this country hasn’t seen anything like it. No wonder big brands like Ayala corporation, San Miguel Holdings Corp, Shiseido’s Anessa, and Blackwood Nature Homes are here to support the tournament. 

What’s even more exciting is that, rumor has it the second tournament is right around the corner but before we kickoff that football once again, let’s get to know 6 women who have been dominating the MFL field. 

Nina Juan

The Rhinos

Let’s start off with Nina Juan who is an athlete through and through. From basketball to track and field to softball, and now to flag football. There’s just something about the sport that makes her keep coming back to score more touchdowns. Flag football became her outlet, an escape from the chaos outside the field, and her personal panacea. 

While she had to endure through a collarbone fracture earlier this year, Nina is back and better than ever. If you ever come up against her on the field, don’t take it easy, because she definitely won’t. 

Tessa Jones

New Era

You’ll be surprised but when Tessa isn’t dominating on the field, she’s better known as “Miss Jones” by her student. That’s right, this stellar athlete is a full-time 3rd grade teacher at the International School of Manila. 

Prior to her moving to the Philippines, this Kiwi athlete played Netball all throughout her academic years playing at premier club teams throughout Auckland. These days when she’s not being coined as one of the fittest teachers in ISM, she’s out proving everyone right by winning all the trophies you could think of at the Spartan race events.

Keiko Enriquez

Team Anessa

Full-time mom & working woman, part time athlete – that’s how Keiko would describe her love for sports. She’s always seen the athletics as a companion growing up. She played soccer at a young age, became a long-distance trail runner and just a few months back crossed over to flag football. Speed, agility, and her need to win – that’s what makes Keiko a treasure to her team. 

But aside from her athletic prowess, Keiko also understands the need to protect her skin from external stressors such as the sun’s harmful UV rays, but with Anessa she’s able to pull flags under the sun or typhoon all day knowing she’s protected. She’s dusted off her first MFL Tournament and is ready for more with Team Anessa.

Faith Belo

Team RAW

Anyone who’s ever played with and against Faith knows how much of a threat she is on the field. She’s probably one of the most experienced female athletes on the field with at least a decade of flag football under her belt, no wonder she represented RAW Extreme Sports.  

Faith is a teacher by profession and is a language facilitator at Proformation, if you asked her years before she probably wouldn’t have guessed she’d end up an educator as she never quite felt she excelled in school, but what she did know what that she was naturally great at sports, revealing a different kind of intelligent. Now, as a teacher she advocates for recognizing and nurturing different types of intelligence – and that’s exactly what she shows on the field. Faith is one of the few people who is able to anticipate game plays before they happen, is able to read passes and defenses, and that’s probably why she’s so good at what she does. Flag football may not have been her first choice, but needless to say Flag Football chose her. From being only one of the two girls on the squad to scavenging for coins just to make it to training, to now being being one of the women benchmarks of the flag football community, Faith Belo is a player to watch out for.

Joreen Genon 

Cebu Jaguars

The Cebu Jaguars is definitely a team to beat, and leading their roster of receivers is this 19-year-old wide receiver. Don’t take her youth as weakness because from intercepting supposed sure passes to her soft hands, you never know how many yards this receiver can stack for the Jaguars. 

She’s a gun on offense and a threat on defense, if you’re looking to find a way through, make sure you plan ahead for this lass because it won’t be easy.

Marites Nocyao

New Era

She may have only gotten through her first tournament, but Marites definitely doesn’t play like a rookie. She’s athletic, aggressive, and is in it to win it. She played on the defensive team of New Era and has been pulling flags left and right. With a few others wondering who she is and where she comes from, let us lay it out for you. 

A national athlete for the Philippine OCR Team and a member of the Spartan Pro Team, it’s no wonder running, leaping, and diving for those flags come so easy to Marites. And for those wondering where she came from, she’s been living it up on the Spartan race podium.

These ladies are turning up the heat with every possession. Flag football is a fairly non-contact sport that is easy to catch on to, if you’re looking to try it out, follow The Manila Flag Football League on Instagram to know more about it. If you’re an athlete who wants to give it a go, send them a DM and they’ll be sure to connect you with a team. If you have a team who’s ready to challenge the rest, don’t forget to register on time. And if you’re a sports enthusiast looking for a weekend to remember. book your spectator ticket, and see it for yourself.

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