The game has changed and the arena has transformed, but the mission remains the same for collegiate athletes aiming to bring pride and glory to their schools, this time in the digital sporting scene amid the pandemic.
With collegiate sports shelved for almost two years now, Letran’s Fran Yu and Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Kyle Carlos are out to translate their on-court brilliance to the virtual arenas through the newly formed Collegiate Center for Esports (CCE) – all for the honor of their respective schools.
“Malaking bagay ito na kahit pandemic, may pinagkakaabalahan kami and at the same time, nare-represent namin yung school namin. Nagagawa pa rin naming proud yung school namin,” said Yu, the NCAA Season 95 Finals MVP.
(It’s a big thing that despite the pandemic, we still get to do something to represent our schools. We can still make our school proud.)
“Para sa akin, privilege siya kahit anong event mo mai-represent yung school mo. Kahit pandemic, nabibigyan pa rin namin sila ng honor,” added Carlos.
(For me, it’s a privilege to represent your school in any event. Despite the pandemic, we still bring them honor.)
Yu and Carlos are among the participants in the historic CCE that already got the ball rolling through the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang 1-on-1 Exhibition Matches, serving as an appetizer for its official 5-on-5 Varsity Cup in October, which will be broadcasted on CALM Network. Rebel Sports Pilipinas is also the league’s official outfitter.
Aside from being true-blooded aces on the court, Yu and Carlos are also avid players off it as long-time gamers starting from their Dota days up to the MLBB boom today.
Carlos, alone, has reached the Mythic 1 level while Yu is currently in Epic 5 after a busy stretch with Zamboanga City in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup. They also livestream their games on social media during their free time.
And while they are playing now without the usual loud crowd in San Juan, the ballers-turned-gamers admitted receiving the same support from their schoolmates.
“Nararamdaman pa rin namin yung suporta. Kahit hindi physical dahil sa pandemya, nandyan pa rin yung suporta nila. Hindi mawawala ‘yun,” shared Yu.
(We still feel the support. Even if it’s not physical because of the pandemic, the support is still there. It’s never gone.)
Soon though, basketball players will be the ones cheering as regular esports players take their turn once the CCE opens its official season-by-season calendar featuring non-varsity athletes.
CCE to offer scholarships
The CCE will be more than just a game as possible scholarship opportunities down the road await online gaming aspirants.
Aside from enjoying an organized campus-based platform to showcase their online gaming wares, budding esports players could also earn scholarships as they proudly represent their school colors in this groundbreaking league.
“That’s the goal, providing scholarships for players. CCE envisions to build that bridge for the Filipino dreamers in this modern age,” said CCE spokesperson Waiyip Chong.
Championing a cause for academic and sporting excellence through esports, CCE will allocate the prizes and rewards for its breakthrough tourney to scholarship purposes for the aspiring esports players which will have their turn in the official CCE season.
So far, a select number of schools have embraced the budding new sporting discipline as they adapt to the ever-changing times.
Lyceum of the Philippines University, for one, has opened a door for gamers to have a future career and profession by launching the country’s first Bachelor of Science in Esports with tracks on Esports Management and Game and Design Development.
De La Salle-College of St. Benilde has also offered courses on Bachelor of Science in Interactive Entertainment and Multimedia Computing, Major in Game Development and Major in Game Art.
“Malaking tulong ito kasi maraming magkakaroon pa ng scholarships at madadagdagan yung athletes na magre-represent sa mga schools,” said Yu.
(This is a big help because more will get scholarships, and there will be more athletes representing our schools.)
“Big step ito sa mga gustong makapasok sa esports team. Ngayon pa lang, congratulations na sa mga future esports players natin,” added Carlos.
(It’s a big step for those hoping to get into esports teams. Right now, I’m already congratulating our future esports players.) – Rappler.com