THE PHILIPPINE ESPORTS team, or “E-Gilas,” pits its skills anew on the world stage as it plunges back into action at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Esports Open this weekend.

Topped the Southeast Asian conference in the inaugural edition of the FIBA tournament in June, E-Gilas seeks to maintain its standing in the region in competitions happening from Nov. 14 to 15.

Unlike in the first edition where the Philippines battled just one team in Indonesia, the conference this time around was shored up with Oceania coming on board with Australia representing.

For the second edition of the FIBA Esports Open, E-Gilas will be made up of veterans and champions in the competitive NBA 2K scene, namely, Angelico Cruzin aka Shintarou;  two-time NBA 2K Asia Champion Aminolah Polog Jr. aka Rial; NBA 2K17 Asia champion Custer Galas aka Custer,  NBA 2K18 Asia Champion Philippe Alcaraz Herrero IV aka IzzoIV; Clark Banzon aka Clark; and reserves Arnie Sison ELChapO; and Rocky Braña aka Rak and coached by Nite Alparas.

“We are thrilled to once again represent the nation in the FIBA Esports Open II. Being invited back is both an honor and a challenge to Team Pilipinas, which we’ll meet with passion and sportsmanship in the true spirit of Philippine basketball,” said Richard Brojan, who co-manages the team with Paul Laus from Playbook Laus Esports.

For the tournament, each team will consist of seven players, five on the court and two reserves. Games will be played remotely on NBA 2K using the Pro-AM mode and allowing full customization of player avatars, uniforms and arena designs.

As in the first edition of the Open, the series will be produced from the FIBA Esports Studio in Riga, Latvia, with 54 hours of live content to be streamed. Each game will be available online with live commentary in English, as well as a daily show featuring up to 12 games.

E-Gilas was dominant in its five-game series with Indonesia in the first edition of the tournament, capped by a 71-35 shellacking in the fifth game.

The 36-point win took the Philippines’ average margin of victory to 32.8 points for the series.

The Philippines opens its campaign on Day One at 6:30 p.m. against Indonesia, which it also battles at 7:30 p.m.

E-Gilas then takes on Australia at 8 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.

Running alongside the Southeast Asian conference are those in Africa and the Middle East.

The Europe conference will be played on Dec. 12-13 and the North and Central America, and South America conferences on Dec. 19-20.

Individual finals will take place in each of the respective conferences with a best-of-three format.

The FIBA Esports Open 2020 is angled by the world basketball governing body to add further dimension to it as an organization while also affording the basketball community some action after activities were halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Team Philippines’ matches can be seen over the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Facebook page as well as FIBA’s Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube channels. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo