IT'S a testament to the popularity of Esports that a number of PBA stars are avid video gamers in different platforms.
Take the case of the Magnolia Hotshots team, which turns into a League of Legends (LOL) side whenever the players are on a break from rigorous practice.
Magnolia superstar Marc Pingris bared that for some time now, his teammates and some members of their coaching staff bond by playing LOL.
“Pag walang practice, lalo na pag offseason, madalas kami magkakasama sa laro ng mga teammates ko. Magte-text-han na kami tapos ‘yun start na ng session,” said Pingris, one of PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.
Pingris bared that he normally plays League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle and one of the largest Esports games, with fellow Hotshots Jio Jalalon, Justin Melton and even assistant coach Jason Webb.
The pride of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan also plays LOL alongside other PBA superstars like five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and rookie Robert Bolick.
So intense is Pingris’ passion for esports that he even flew to Singapore once with his family to watch a tournament.
“Sobrang nakakatuwa manuod ng mga laro nyan, kasi makakakita ka ng technique saka strategy,” he said.
“Kasi pag naglalaro ka lang, akala mo ganun na lang yun. Pero pag nakita mo yung mga magagaling, talagang makikita mo na ang dami mo pa palang pwedeng i-improve. Ang gagaling nila, ang tataba ng utak,” added the nine-time PBA champion.
Pingris also bared that like in basketball, playing LOL and other esports requires utmost team play and discipline.
“Hindi basta-basta yan na susugod ka o lalaro kayo. Kailangan may practice yan, kailangan kabisado mo strengths mo at ng mga kakampi mo, dapat alam mo kung pano sila gumalaw,” he said.
Pingris believes Filipino gamers can very much excel in this discipline. And just like in the men’s national basketball team, support from the private sector must come in.
“Oo, maraming magagaling na batang Pilipino sa Esports. Kaya ako naniniwala na hindi magtatagal, isa tayo sa superpower nyan. Basta siguro masuportahan lang nang tama,” he said.
Globe's partnership with Mineski, the country’s biggest community of gamers, comes as a boost to Epsorts. Globe and Mineski believes that as Esports continues to grow in other countries, the Philippines shouldn’t lag behind.
Asked if after his colorful PBA career, he will shift his focus on Esports, which is now a medal event in the coming Southeast Asian Games and already debuted a s a demo sport in the last Asian Games, Pingris shook his head.
“Hindi siguro. Mahirap yan. Iba ang training dyan. Kailangan dyan maraming oras saka iba ang technology. Ang bilis ng mga pagbabago saka kailangan dyan tutukan mo. Ang daming strategy at style, mahirap,” he said.