Road To The Nationals a step towards putting esports as future of PHL Sports

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ESPORTS as a source of medal for Pinoy athletes in major international competitions like the SEA Games, Asian Games, world-level competitions and hopefully, the Olympics?

That dream could turn out tp be a reality for people who love online gaming with the creation of The Nationals, the first ever esports franchise model league.

Six founding teams will comprise the first ever league for egaming aficionados — TNC Pro Team, HappyFeet eSports, BrenPro Inc., Cignal TV Inc, PLDT/Smart Communications, and STI Education Systems — and they will select players to compete in the Road To The Nationals, a series of esports tournament set to happen nationwide.

Participants will showcase their wares in different field of egames in PC, mobile and console. Among the games featured are DOTA 2 for PC, Mobile Legends for mobile, and NBA2K19, for console which is still being worked out at this time.

“We already have six teams for The Nationals. We have space for two more, ” said Vincent “Chot” Reyes, president and chief operating officer of TV5. “But who are the players participating? That’s why we have The Road To Nationals. On August 4, we’re going to go nationwide.”

The following qualifying dates for The Nationals are as follows:

August 4 — TNC Morayta
August 11 — SM seaside Cebu
August 25 — Cagayan de Oro Cybersquare Cafe
September 22 — TNC Bacolod
September 29 — Localhost Cafe, KBEN Building, MH del Pilar Iloilo
October 13 — UGZ, 137 Nueno Ave, Poblacion 1A Imus, Cavite
Grand Finals: October 27-28 ESGS, SMX Convention Center, Pasay

The event will also serve as a stepladder phase in creating a competitive team that could represent the country in major international events.

During the press launching held at the Sala Bistro in Greenbelt 3, top officials headed by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas graced the event.

road to nationals

Both Pangilinan and Vargas will play a key role in the creation of the ESports team that will represent the country in major international events.

But before the creation of the team, it needs a legitimate organization that is duly recognized by a national sports association, which would also need the governance of the POC in able to compete internationally.

The ESports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP) had taken steps to be duly recognized by the POC as the official national sports association of ESports.

“A few years back, we’re not aware that it’s gonna be this big, ” said Ren Vitug, secretary general of ESNAP. “A few years ago, we had tournaments and only a few people were playing at cybercafes for a few thousand pesos as prize money. Now we have participants and audience filling up the big stadiums and with millions at stake. “

Vitug added that they had already taken initial steps to be recognized as a regular NSA by the governing POC.

Vargas, the newly-installed POC head who unseated long-time president Peping Cojuangco is excited to have a new NSA and sees esports as the future of Philippine sports.

“They (IOC) had a one day session talking about esports. It was attended by the president of the IOC. The global group heading the international sports is Mr. (Patrick) Baumann, secretary general of the International Basketball Federation. On the POC side, I’m hapoy because the Philippines has formalized esports and an NSA has been created for esports because eventually we see the esports as the sports of the future. You cannot turn around anymore, but you have to bring it to the games. In the Asian Games, it’s going to be a demonstration sports. Hopefully, if we are able to get an NSA, be recognized and represent the Philippines, then we should consider esports in the Southeast Asian Games, ” said Vargas.