By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

NOW PLAYING under a new name and organization, members of AURA Philippines are looking to sustain the current success they are having in esports.

Formerly played as Sunsparks, which won back-to-back championships at the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League-Philippines, the team is now bannering AURA PH, which is affiliated with an esports organization based in Indonesia.

The AURA PH roster is practically the same which ruled seasons 4 and 5 of MPL-PH.

The members are Chan “Rafflesia” Faura, Kielvj “Kielvj” Hernandez, Jaypee ‘Jaypee’ Dela Cruz, Ashley “Killuash” Cruz, Allen “Greed_”’ Baloy, Renzio “Renzio” Cadua. Head coach is Michael “Arcadia” Bocado with Mitch Liwanag as team manager.

The team said its decision to partner with Indonesia-based AURA is to get out of its comfort zone and challenge itself while also angling to explore other opportunities in the sport.

“Before going to AURA, we really thought hard about it. Then we decided that it’s time to go out of our comfort zones. The team wanted to embrace new challenges in a different environment,” said Arcadia in the team’s recent guesting on Tiebreaker Vods’ CPT Crossover podcast.

“[The transition has not been tough] The only difference is organization structure. It’s different from Sunsparks. But our routine is the same,” he added.

For Rafflesia, the move could open a chance for them to expand their reach and shore up their skills.

“[With AURA] we expand because it is already international. Our sponsor is from another country. This will be a new challenge and it is an opportunity for us to learn and showcase our strength as a team,” he said.

In the last edition of MPL-PH, members of AURA PH as Sunsparks defeated ONIC PH in the finals.

Greed_ lifted his team to the 3-1 victory and the title. Interestingly, Greed_ was once part of ONIC PH.

With the title-clinching Game Four heading into a fever pitch, both teams figured in a crucial clash near the lord pit. Greed_ (Natalia) found his former teammate Danerie “Wise” James (Hanzo) placed just beside the throne in his pinnacle form and erased him off the map right away.

With members of ONIC PH still far off, Greed_ immediately attacked the throne to seal the crown.

For his consistent finals brilliance though, Kielvj was named finals most valuable player.

Apart from making waves in the MPL scene, a goal also for the AURA PH members is to be able to represent the country in platforms like the Southeast Asian Games where esports made its successful debut last year here in the country.

“We want to experience it, to compete against other international teams on that level,” Rafflesia said.

Moving forward, AURA PH members said they see esports continuing to flourish even amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic albeit with challenges along the way.

“Actually esports fits in this kind of scenario because we don’t really have to be in the same place, conforming to social distancing. But it also has its challenges like many events being canceled,” Arcadia said.