A total of 27 players make up Sibol, the national esports team that will compete in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, across six esports titles: two each for StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, and Tekken 7, and seven each for Dota 2, Arena of Valor, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
The roster, which has a good mix of seasoned veterans and players from The Nationals, was finalzed by the respective managers and coaches of each game. Notable names who made the cut are Van Jerico "Van" Manalaysay, James Erice "Erice" Guerra, Andreij Hosea "Doujin" Albar, Alexandre Gabrielle "AK" Laverez, Caviar "Enderr" Acampado, Dustin "WaningMoon" Mangulabnan, and world champion Jacinta "Jia" Dee.
With the SEA Games just months away, Sibol is doing everything it can to prepare for the competition.
"We just finished a bootcamp in Singapore. That was for Dota 2, it lasted over 3 days and there were multiple countries. The guys [the team] was also exposed to EG Kanishka 'BuLba' Sosale and it's rare for these guys to talk to a tier 1 coach and player. I think that was very significant," said Sibol team manager Alvin Juban.
"For the other squads, we're still strategizing on how to polish the players. The conversation is ongoing. I'm confident that there will be extra support when it comes to training. When I say training, it's not just strategic. We're aiming for motivational, psychological as well, and of course, physical."
Though initially put together just for the SEA Games, Sibol already has plans of competing in other international tournaments.
"As it is right now, there are up and coming events for national teams like what Sibol is right now. It's still being formalized but less than eight months after the SEA Games there's already a major tournament."
Knowing that Filipinos are top-notch when it comes to esports, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee expects Sibol to win several gold medals for the Philippines, but Juban is guaranteeing at least two.
"As the national team manager, I'm not a coach, from my perspective, there are two medals that we have to win and four that we can lose. That is ours to lose. It's really up to us. We've given it a lot of thought and strategy to get our unfair share of the medals," said Juban.
"As I tell my brethren in the Southeast Asian countries, we are a very generous people. The Filipinos are willing to give away all the silver and bronze medals during the Southeast Asian Games."