NEXT WEEK the growing Esports scene in the country will be further enhanced with the kickoff of the first season of The Nationals — the Philippines’ first and only franchise-based Esports League.
Initially will feature five competing teams, The Nationals hopes to elevate the standing of the sport in the country that will have people viewing it as something worth investing time and effort in.
Competing in the first year of the league are Bren Epro, Cignal Ultra Warriors, HF Emperors, PLDT-Smart Omega, and Suha-XCTN Punishers. STI is the sixth team but is set to make its debut in the middle of this year.
Games to be featured on the first year of The Nationals, happening from March to October, are Dota 2 on PC, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on Mobile, and Tekken 7 on PS4.
With less than a week since the league officially fires off on March 24, the competing teams said they are very excited and confident of their chances even as they highlighted the hugeness of The Nationals in growing the Esports scene in the country and further legitimizing it.
“The Nationals is huge for Esports in the country since it is being backed up prominent and respected groups. And the good thing about it all is that it is just the beginning,” said Jobe Nkemakolam, owner of Suha-XCTN Punishers, in an interview with BusinessWorld.
Mr. Nkemakolam, a former player with the Ateneo basketball team, said the field at The Nationals is very competitive but it would not stop them in going all out and make waves.
“All the teams in The Nationals are good. You cannot take anyone for granted. It will be a battle of strategies and all. Nothing is a sure-win I think. I believe we can compete with the rest of them,” he said.
For Bren Epro, the team is looking to its experience as a collective to propel its cause.
“We are very excited with the start of The Nationals. We are very happy that we are part of the endemic group with all the incorporators and partner teams. We have been in Esports for a much longer time than the other teams. And I think we will do good. That’s our expectation,” said Jab Escutin, Bren Epro owner, in a separate interview.
Like, Mr. Nkemakolam of Suha, Mr. Escutin also touts the setting up of a franchise-based Esports League in the Philippines.
“Coming from a company that is for Esports, we are happy that there are a lot of opportunities for the industry to grow in the Philippines, especially in making it legitimate. The Nationals is a good step for us. It’s a step in the right direction. Here we have certain rules and certain processes that we follow. Having those is big for Esports in the country. It’s a step in being recognized,” Mr. Escutin said.
On the part of the Cignal Ultra Warriors, it said it has been training hard in preparation for its campaign in The Nationals.
“We are training very hard. We have been taking care of our players, making sure they have everything they need to be able to perform well in the tournament,” said Cignal Ultra Warriors team owner Jane Basas.
The Cignal Ultra Warriors’ mobile games team is coming off a successful bid in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League — Philippines where it bagged the season 2 title.
All the games in the first season of The Nationals will be played at the Gariath Concepts Studio in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.
The Nationals’ official TV broadcast partners are ESPN5 through 5Plus on Free TV and Cignal TV through eGG Network and One Sports on Pay TV. Livestreaming on social media will likewise be provided by the league.
For more information on the league follow it on its Website at TheNationals.PH. It is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo