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Make way for the PBA Esports Bakbakan
EVEN the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Asia’s first play-for-pay league, is trying its hands in e-sports.
The PBA is now teaming up with Dark League Studios to launch the Mobile Legends: Bang (MLBB) online gaming competition starting March.
Billed as PBA” Esports Bakbakan”, the online gaming tournament will be participated in by all 12 member-teams of Asia’s oldest pro league.
At stake in the event is P1-million with the champion getting the lion’s share of P750,000.
“With the history of the PBA as sports entertainment, combined with the growing influence in modern technology, I think this is a win-win situation for both parties, the PBA and Dark League,” said PBA Cimmissioner Willie Marcial during the official launching of the tournament at the Dark League Studios in Libis last Tuesday.
“Ngayon pa lang nagpapasalamat na kami sa Dark League for its collaboration with the PBA,” added Marcial.
“It’s an eye opener for all the Filipinos. For the longest time, there’s really been a separation between the community of traditional sports and Esports. We do it not just to bridge the gap, but to create aspirations for the next generation,” said Dark League Studios CEO AC Valdenor.
Also present during the press launch were PBA Board vice chairman Bobby Rosales, governor Alfrancis Chua of Barangay Ginebra and marketing director Jo Francisco, Dark League Studios Chief Revenue Officer Cherry Valdenor, program director Mark Chua, and head of operations Carlo Giron.
According to Marcial, all the 12 PBA teams — San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia, TNT, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, Blackwater, Phoenix, Terrafirma, Converge, and NorthPort — will be represented in the said MLBB competition.
Eight team will field eight players: two PBA players, two gaming influencers, a student from 12 chosen universities, and three fans from each 12 teams
A drafting system will be held on Feb.13 to determine the influencers and the rest of the members who are going to join the PBA players in each team.
Aming the gaming influencers hoping to join the competitition are Eric ‘Eruption’ Tai, Raven ‘LeBron’ Alonzo, and recent PBA finals visitor Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio.
The four influencers were also present during the launch as they hope to compete against each other.
A total of 4,000 aspirants applied for possible slots within the teams involved, although the numbers have since been trimmed to a pool of 70 who are all going through the draft.
The 12 teams will play in a single round robin format, with the top four advancing in a best-of-five playoffs, which could either be held at the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Games will be played every Monday for five weeks and are going to be livestreamed in the league’s official accounts.