SBP looking to develop esports after PH success in FIBA tilt

MANILA, Philippines – Esports is an event the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is looking to develop after the country dominated in the FIBA Esports Open.

Team Pilipinas – composed of the best NBA 2K players in the country – swept Indonesia in a five-game series by a combined 164 points to rule the Southeast Asia Conference of the inaugural tournament.  

"We have a big gaming community. We have a great chance to win a medal in esports," said SBP director of operations Butch Antonio in a mix of Filipino and English during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum. 

"We want to cooperate as much as we can because we saw the potential of our team and the potential of this game could give glory to our country," Antonio added as the SBP is set to meet FIBA to discuss esports. 

"Hopefully, moving forward, we get to develop the sport and grow it together." 

Although the country has made improvements over the years in the international basketball scene, it still continues to struggle against nations with significantly taller and heftier players. 

That, however, is not the case in esports, with players having the freedom to decide what their height and play style are going to be in-game. 

"FIBA is looking at esports basketball in a very big way," said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios as federation president Al Panlilio got tapped to join the esports advisory group of FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis.

Barrios said there are talks of creating an esports grassroots program. 

"I never thought I would see basketball played where height is not might," Barrios said, joking that he will pursue esports after his retirement from the SBP. 

"You can imagine those who are interested in basketball who stand at 5-foot-2 and weigh 110 pounds, they can become e-games champions. We are very upbeat about the future of e-games or esports in basketball." –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.