Sixty-seven players from the Sibol Training Pool participated in a combine event held at Ayala Malls Circuit Makati last August 29-31. The event served as the athletes' strongest bid to qualify for the national team that will represent the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, with everyone hoping to be part of the final 27 that will be announced on 11 September 11.
The managers and coaches prepared training matches and sessions for their athletes in the three-day event. For some team games, this was an opportunity to try compositions that were not possible before.
Aside from the playing area, the games and the players were also brought to the stage to test their performances when placed under the spotlight.
All the game results in the Combine were analyzed and recorded to help in the players' evaluation. The training pool members who participated in this event were were either directly invited or have advanced through the national qualifiers. This is the first time that esports will be a medaled event in any multisport competition, and as such everyone eligible participated except for the ten invited Dota 2 players who withdrew because of other commitments and to focus on the upcoming Dota Pro Circuit.
"This is a first that esports will be a medal event in the Southeast Asian Games. I am hoping that out of the six events, we can get six gold medals," said Ramon Suzara, COO of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).
With the high expectations, the responsibility now falls in the hands of the managers and coaches. Because of the difference of the games, the heads will have different metrics and criteria to grade the performance of their respective athletes. For team games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, for example, communication and teamwork are vital traits and are given importance. For a single-player game like Tekken 7, on the other hand, player skill and competence are given more weight.
The final 27-member pool will be broken down to seven each for the team games (Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Arena of Valor), and two individuals each for the other games (Tekken 7, Hearthstone, StarCraft II).