It was a gruelling week for the 77-strong training pool for Sibol, the Philippine team that will represent the country in the esports medaled events of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Invited athletes and those who got past the online qualifiers had the chance to play together during the past few days and during the Sibol National Pool Combine event, all the while the respective coaches and managers of the six esports titles evaluated their pool for the coveted final roster slots.
From this pool, only 27 athletes made the team, which was revealed by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Esports Union (PSEU). Seven members are needed for each of the team-based games: Dota2, Arena of Valor, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Two members each will make up the rest of the games: StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, and Tekken 7.
These are the 27 athletes that comprise Sibol:
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Kenneth Jiane 'Kenji' Villa
Karl Gabriel 'KarlTzy' Nepomuceno
Carlito 'Ribo' Ribo
Jeniel 'Haze' Bata-anon
Angelo Kyle 'Pheww' Arcangel
Allan Sancio 'Lusty' Castromayor
Jason Rafael 'Jay' Torculas
Mc Nicholson 'Mc' Villanueva
John Anthony 'Natsumi' Vargas
Jun 'Bok' Kanehara
Marvin Salvador 'Boomy' Rushton
Bryle Jacob 'CML' Alvizo
Van Jerico 'Van' Manalaysay
James Erice 'Erice' Guerra
Arena of Valor
Kevin Kio 'Gambit' Dizon
Jeremiah '1717' Camarillo
Jevan Lorenzo 'Bents' Delos Santos
Lawrence Anthony 'Rubixx' Gatmaitan
Miguel Klarenz 'Miggie' Banaag
Bradie Ryan 'Yats' Velasquez
Kyle Jepherson 'Vindiicated' Padlan
Justin 'NuksPH' Santos
Caviar 'Enderr' Acampado
Dustin 'WaningMoon' Mangulabnan
Jacinta 'Jia' Dee
Andreij Hosea 'Doujin' Albar
Alexandre Gabrielle 'AK' Laverez
The road to the 30th SEA Games has been a long and challenging one, but for us Filipinos, it's been a long time coming. The country's esports beginnings have developed a strong foundation in our athletes, who all showcase, skill, passion, and competition. From here, the Sibol team will be tested and trained by their coaches, in an effort to mold them all into solid individuals and teams with their eyes on one thing: SEA Games gold. The catchphrase 'Lakad Matatag' embodies the Sibol athletes, entering the battlefield with pride and confidence.
They are not without support, however, as the PSEU has teamed up with the country's biggest network, Smart, as the official presenter for Sibol. The communications network provider is no stranger to gaming and esports, offering products and services to the Filipino gamer, as well as an open supporter of events that cater to the gaming market.
"Esports in the SEA Games is not just about making history; it is about building the foundation for all our young Filipinos who aspire to represent our country on a world stage. The athletes of Sibol are not just pioneers, they are our country's pride. We at Smart wholly support our athletes in their SEA Games journey," Alfredo S. Panlilio, President of Smart Communications, Inc., said.
Razer, the official esports partner for the Games, is also present to help in Sibol's training and preparation. The PSEU, with recommendations from the coaches and managers, will be crafting programs for the athletes in their respective games, including sending them to tournaments within Southeast Asia in hopes to gain more knowledge against their peers and prepare appropriately.
"We have taken a very big step in history. Not only are we having esports as part of the SEA Games, we have formed the team that will carry our nation to greatness. I wish for these athletes to always remain proud and committed to the goal of carrying the nation to SEA Games gold," said PSEU co-Chairman Jane J. Basas.
Local TV and cable channels have also pledged support in the Sibol effort. TV5 and Cignal are no strangers to this rapidly-growing industry, as they have been airing the biggest esports tournaments on free TV and high definition cable. As the official broadcasters for the 30th SEA Games, expect TV5, Cignal, and their various channels to bring the action into your homes.
For more information about Sibol, head over to the Sibol Esports Facebook page. Additional updates on the team and more information can be found on the official website SIBOLesports.ph and on the other social media pages (Twitter, Instagram) @SIBOLesports.