MANILA, Philippines – Sibol Philippines, the country’s 27-man esports team, shoots for a sweep of the 6 gold medals at stake in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Jacinta “Jia” Dee and Dustin “Waningmoon” Mangulabnan look to add to that medal target as the Hearthstone duo shoots for a 1-2 finish in the inaugural staging of esports in the regional competition. (READ: 'Hearthstone': What you need to know)
“We’re excited, we’re training hard and we’re ready,” said Mangulaban.
Dee, Sibol’s only female esports player, said she feels grateful to be part of the team despite playing professionally for only two years following a career as a full-fledged caster in various international tournaments.
"[I started in] an all-women’s tournament, and I guess there aren’t that many female pro players. They also invited casters, streamers, so I joined as a caster and I ended up winning," said Dee, a BS Molecular Biology graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.
“That opened up more doors for being more competitive.”
Mangulabnan, meanwhile, started playing StarCraft II but eventually got hooked on Hearthstone and decided to shift after winning his first 3 Southeast Asian tournaments in 2015.
“[It’s] more intense now because we have a coach, we have a program that we want to follow and we have the goals that we’ve set,” said Mangulabnan.
Aside from their usual practices at home, the pair stepped up their SEA Games preparation by training together at Bren Esports. (READ: ‘Hearthstone’: Pro tips from the Sibol players)
Although focused, Dee and Mangulabnan admit that excitement also fuels their bid for gold.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but most of all I’m proud to represent the Philippines,” said Dee. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.