“The Battle Rages On”: A Review of the Current 2018 Isabuhay Lineup

By Dante Romero

The 2018 Isabuhay Tournament officially started at Second Sight 6, and it already gave us a few memorable moments. Abra and Shehyee returned to the battle scene, scoring impressive victories over Poison13 and Lhipkram respectively. 2016 finalist Plazma joined once again, and his unanimous decision win over Batang Rebelde is proof that he’s determined to bring home the crown. J-King was able to redeem himself from his Ahon 8 loss by defeating Sayadd in what many claim to be a close fight. As for Batas, he proved to everyone why he’s the back-to-back champion by beating Jonas in dominating fashion. 

With 11 emcees remaining, we can all expect more surprises as the tournament progresses. Let’s take a closer look at the current lineup and see what every battler has to offer. You can take your pick for this year’s champion or predict who will be facing off in the finals.



Two times is just not enough for this FlipTop veteran. After bodying Jonas at Second Sight 6, it’s obvious that Batas is keen on taking the throne again. He’s a credible threat this year because apart from his well-constructed bars and angles, he also improved his delivery even further. As long as he retains his viciousness in his first round battle, don’t be shocked to see him become 3-time champ or at least reach the finals. 



We can’t deny that Abra has an unimpressive win-loss record in the league, but he’s not fazed by it at all. It actually motivated him to improve his battling style, which is evident in his match against Poison 13. He came back with a vengeance, and he showed the crowd that he’s better than ever. The 2018 Isabuhay Tournament can be Abra’s redemption story if his confidence, witty rhymes, and hunger remain intact. 



Just like Abra, Shehyee is also determined to bounce back from his losing streak at this year’s tournament. He surprised everyone at Second Sight 6 by defeating Lhipkram, proving that his shock value style mixed with comedy is still effective. The only thing he needs to work on now is the length of his verses. If he keeps on spitting unbelievably long rounds in his next match, then it’s goodbye Isabuhay for him. 



Despite not winning the championship in 2016’s Isabuhay, J-King still made an impact in the first two rounds. He decided to join again this year, and proved that he’s a credible threat when he won against Sayadd.  If he maintains his confidence and versatility, then he will certainly go a long way in the tournament.



Plazma showed a huge improvement in his delivery when he took on Batang Rebelde in the first round. Combine that with his technical pen game, we might finally see him win the championship. He also added a bit of humor to his style recently, which will definitely help him in the long run.


Marshall Bonifacio

Ever since his debut, Marshall Bonifacio has been captivating battle rap fans with his intricate lyricism and raw aggression. Expect to see him get even better now that he’s part of the 2018 Isabuhay Tournament. If he remains consistent, there’s a huge chance of him winning the championship. He also needs to stay confident especially if he’s facing a veteran or fan-favorite.  



After suffering his first loss at Ahon 8, Invictus looks ready to redeem himself at this year’s tournament. We’re expecting to see not only a more aggressive side of him, but also a more hard-hitting pen game. If he was brutal in his previous battles, then he should up the ante further. Obviously, he should also avoid stumbling again. A 100-percent Invictus definitely has the potential to become champion.



It’s Pistolero’s third Isabuhay attempt, and it’s highly possible that he will go all out. If he retains his strong stage presence and improves his writing skills, he may finally wear the crown this year.  Emcees should also come up with the cleverest lines to avoid his often effective rebuttals.



After losing in the first round of the 2014 Isabuhay Tournament, Maxford decided to give it another shot this year. If you’re a true FlipTop fan, then you should know that the Davao-born emcee is not someone to be taken lightly. He has a few notable wins under his belt, and if he adds more aggression to his delivery, then we might see him take home the 100,000-peso prize. Maxford is also creative when it comes to jokes, so he should utilize it more in this year’s tournament. 




If you think Aelekz doesn’t stand a chance in this year’s Isabuhay, then watch his performance at last year’s Dos Por Dos. He and Fangs may have lost, but they still managed to leave battle rap fans in awe with their hard punchlines. If Aelekz spits his rhymes more convincingly, then he may be the dark horse of this tournament. 



Fukuda reached the semi-finals of last year’s Isabuhay, but it wasn’t enough for him. He wants to be the champion, which is why he joined again this year. With his improved technical style and aggressive delivery, Fukuda certainly has what it takes to win it all. He can also incorporate a little comedy to his lines to surprise his opponents.  


Indeed, this year’s Isabuhay is the most unpredictable. Every rapper stepped up in their recent matches, and they all have a unique style. The first round is great so far, and we’re certain that things will get even more exciting from there. Make sure you stay tuned to this website for the official bracket as well as updates on future events.