HIGHLIGHTING utmost teamwork derived from doing sports, local athletes continue to do their share in helping in the fight against the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Coming in varying forms, Globe esports team Liyab and Southeast Asian Games gold medallists Agatha Wong and Jamie Lim hope that through their efforts the toll the battle the country is having against the highly contagious virus and its effects is lessened while inspiring others to continue to forge ahead.

Liyab and Esports AcadArena, a campus esports initiative in the Philippines, put up the online charity streaming event “Starforge” from April 17 to 26 for the benefit of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

The two-week campaign saw Team Liyab participate in online community team matches, hold entertaining podcasts, and interact with fans and the nationwide gaming community.

The initiative culminated in a major Starforge event which featured a best-of-three All-Stars Showdown between teams headed by Liyab’s Kang “Kurd” Yeonghwan and the team of Edrian ‘DoeDoii’ Brancia, with Team Kurd ultimately dominating a win.

Throughout the event, Globe donated cash when certain milestones were met.

For instance, for every kill of an opposing player, dragon, or baron takedown Globe added P1,000 to the fund. This is on top of Globe donating P100,000 in funding upfront.

Through Starforge, Globe was able to raise a total of P523,000 for the PHC, which, in turn, was very appreciated for the added help it got.

“It gives us great inspiration to know that partners and communities like Globe and the local esports industry are also supporting us here at PHC, and all medical frontliners in the country who are continuously battling the onslaught of COVID-19. We are grateful to Team Liyab and their fans in leading this unique initiative to ensure our staff’s safety and health so that in turn, we can ensure the health and welfare of the Filipino public,” said Dr. Gerardo S. Manzo, Deputy Executive Director, Incident Command Post at PHC.

Globe, for its part, underscored the need for all sectors to band together and channel resources for efforts against COVID-19.

“More than just bringing together gamers and gaming enthusiasts, we wanted to harness the reach of competitive online gaming towards opportunities to raise awareness and donations to aid COVID-19 frontliners,” said Jil Bausa-Go, Vice-President at Content Business Group of Globe.

“During these stressful times where typical sports are no longer available, it is inspiring to see how esports have created innovative and collaborative avenues to bring people together and provide much-needed entertainment to lift morale,” she added.

Meanwhile, decorated national athletes Wong and Lim took their efforts online by conducting the show “Puso: The Battle Against COVID-19,” a five-episode Instagram (IG) Live streamed on the athletes’ official handles @agathawongy and @jamiechristinelim, which ran for approximately one hour and ended in May.

Ms. Wong, a Consular and Diplomatic Affairs (CDA) alumna student-leader from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, and Lim, a BS Mathematics summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman, started the online campaign through an inspirational question-and-answer event, where they discussed sports, health, and wellness. For their second installment, the athletes taught each other the fundamentals of their respective sports.

Misses Wong and Lim also hosted a “mukbang,” or an eating broadcast in their third live, wherein they talked about their athletic journey over nutritious dishes, and set up their kitchens for overnight oats healthy meal prep session for their fourth chapter.

They concluded their show with a follow-up interactive question-and-answer session, this time, entertaining non-sports related queries from their audience.

Their efforts resulted in over P300,000 raised, which was used to purchase urgent basic and medical necessities for the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and Quezon City General Hospital and the health facilities of the University of the Philippines — Diliman and Quezon City Polytechnic University.

They allotted a part of the funds to acquire television sets for the COVID-stricken patients currently isolated in hospitals.

“We would like to thank everyone who has shown interest in helping fellow Filipinos who risk their lives for us,” Ms. Wong said following the warm reception their online show got.

“Thank you to everyone who tuned in and expressed their joy, sentiments, and excitement in this little project of ours. We never thought we would reach so many people but here we all are, trying to do our parts from our own homes. We just want everyone to know that there will be an end soon. Never lose hope and take care of yourselves…” — Michael Angelo S. Murillo