MANILA -- After the successful Voltes V, Jollibee, Darna, Manny Pacquiao, and Aswang toys, Funko comes up with new vinyl figures featuring the mascots of the Ateneo Blue Eagles and De La Salle Green Archers.
The two are listed under the “Pop College” line and are the first outside continental American college mascots such as Notre Dame’s Leprechaun, UCLA’s Joe Bruin, Clemson’s The Tiger to name but a few.
“We are thrilled that Funko has chosen to expand its line of figures based on popular icons from our country,” enthused Jacob Cabochan, co-owner of Filbar’s, the Philippines’ oldest comic book and collectibles specialty store. “I think the alumni and sports fans from both universities will be very excited to take home a small keepsake of their alma mater.”
The germ of the idea came from Filbar’s, according to Nikko Lim of Funko Fanatic Philippines.
“Filbar’s had this idea for a generic Ateneo and La Salle basketball player,” Lim shared. “Since Funko was doing US college mascots, we came up with the idea of Philippine college mascots.”
Lim pitched the idea to Brian Mariotti, chief executive officer of Funko in December 2019. “I told him about the rivalry and relevance of these two schools in the Philippines.”
“I think because of the success of the Jollibee Pop, Funko was more amenable to making projects specifically for the Philippine market,” noted Eric Cabochan, the other co-owner of Filbar’s.
When Funko agreed, the next task was to approach and convince both Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University about the veracity of the project. Lim is a La Salle alumnus, while the Cabochan brothers went to the Ateneo.
Fortunately for Filbar’s, the approval process wasn’t tedious.
The timeline for the creation of Funko Pops is usually 8 to 9 months from concept to production. However, due to the pandemic, production on the Blue Eagle and Green Archer Pops was somewhat delayed.
The production wasn’t the only thing affected by the ongoing pandemic. Season 83 of the UAAP was also canceled.
“We wanted to target the 2020 Season 83 of the UAAP,” added Eric Cabochan. “Several factors led us to try for La Salle and Ateneo first. La Salle is the current UAAP host, and since most of our partners in Filbar’s are Ateneans, we also pushed for Ateneo.”
Now, despite the pandemic and uncertainty of the re-start of the UAAP season, these novel vinyl toys are available on Philippine shores.
According to Eric Cabochan, he hopes that Ateneo and La Salle are but the first Philippine universities to be included in Funko’s prestigious Pop College line.
The Ateneo Blue Eagle and De La Salle Green Archers Funko Pops will be available for sale exclusively at Filbar’s stores on July 12 for P800 each.