MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines hopes to ride on the world esports wave with a new national sports association (NSA), as well as a pioneering national league, set to unfold in 2019.
Esports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP) has been formed to promote the growth of esports in the country starting with the recruitment of national team members from the inaugural league.
“We did not expect it to be this big this fast because a few years ago, we had tournaments with a few people playing in cyber cafes for a few thousand pesos,” recalled ESNAP secretary general Ren Vitug.
“Now, we have events filling up stadiums, millions at stake and we’re going to be having it as a demonstration game in the Asian Games this year.”
Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas also supported the creation of a new NSA, noting that esports can be included in the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games next year. Vargas said the ESNAP just needs to complete the application process for new sports associations.
“Hopefully if we are able to get an NSA going, it can be prepared nice and all that, then we can send the Philippines (to international competitions), then we should consider esports in the Southeast Asian Games,” said Vargas.
Esports has been listed as a demonstration sport in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. The Philippines will be represented by Bren Esports in the Arena of Valor tournament.
“Since it’s a demonstration sport, they just have a set number of teams. We didn’t qualify for the League of Legends, for Ultimate football, but we have a team for Arena of Valor which is Bren Esports,” said Vitug.
ESPN 5 has launched the search for esports pro athletes in the Philippines through the Road to Nationals, a set of qualifiers for the national league. The Nationals will be the first esports franchise model league in the country.
Six teams – TNC Pro team, HappyFeet eSports, BrenPro Inc, Cignal TV Inc, PLDT/Smart Communications, and STI Education Systems – have committed to be the founding teams of The Nationals. The league hopes to add two more groups to complete the 8-team format of the competition.
The league will feature PC Game DOTA2, Mobile Legends, but it’s also planning to make NBA 2K19 or Tekken 7 as the console game.
“The Road to The Nationals’ DOTA2, Mobile Legends and console game tournaments are all part of our NSA’s thrust to grow esports in the Philippines,” said ESNAP president Joebert Yu. – Rappler.com