By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
IF playing and competing in front of hometown fans is not motivation enough, national esports athletes get added incentive to do well in the 30th Southeast Asian Games later year with cash prizes to be handed out for every gold medal won in the biennial regional sporting meet.
The announcement was made on Monday at Smart’s launch of its “Get Gold!” campaign at the Ballroom I of Raffles Hotel in Makati City.
The Get Gold! campaign offers cash incentives to Team Sibol athletes and their coaches and managers for every gold medal won.
Proponents of the campaign said Get Gold! is their way of further encouraging national esports athletes to haul as many top hardware as they can in the SEA Games, happening from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
“This is a huge milestone for esports, and it is our greatest honor to support the best Filipino gamers as they prove that we have the talent, skill, and drive to dominate this increasingly growing scene,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT chief revenue officer and current Smart Communications, Inc. president, at the press launch.
Under the cash incentives program of the Get Gold! campaign, a P2-million cash prize will be given for team events (DOTA 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor), and P1-million cash prize for individual events (Tekken 7, Hearthstone and Star Craft).
Sibol, the Philippine national esports team, is comprised of veterans in their respective games.
The Sibol team is made up of Marvin Salvador “Boomy” Rushton, John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas, Bryle Jacob “cml” Alvizo, Jun “Bok” Kanehara, Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva, James “Erice” Guerra and “Van” Jerico Manalaysay (DOTA 2); Caviar “EnDerr” Acampado and Justin “Nuks” Santos (StarCraft 2); and Jacinta “Jia” Dee and Dustin “WaningMoon” Mangulaban (Hearthstone).
Also part of the squad are Kevin Kio “Gambit” Dizon, Jeremiah “1717” Camarillo, Miguel Klarenz “Miggie” Banaag, Jevan Lorenzo “Bents” Delos Santos, Lawrence Anthony “Rubixx” Gatmaitan, Bradie Ryan “Yatz” Velasquez, and Kyle Jepherson “Vindicated” Padlan (Arena of Valor); Angelo Kyle “Pheww” Arcangel, Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa, Carlito “Ribo” Jr., Jason Rafael “Jay” Torculas, Jeniel “Haze” Bata-Anon, and Allan Sancio “Lusty” Castromayor (Mobile Legends: Bang Bang); and Andrei Hosea “Doujin” Albar and Alexandre Gabrielle “AK” Laverez (Tekken 7).
As a team, Sibol is rallying behind the battle cry “Lakad Matatag.”
The Get Gold! campaign is an extension of Smart’s support not only for Sibol but for the Philippine esports scene in general.
Since 2013, Smart has consistently provided for Filipino gamers to showcase their talent and skill at grassroots and world-class esports events, including the annual Esports and Gaming Summit, which concluded its 2019 edition at the weekend, Manila Masters and the Smart Mobile Gaming League.
For Sibol’s preparation, Smart opened the Sibol Training Ground, the de facto headquarters of the team which is fitted with the latest mobile network innovations.