NBA 2K teams in the Asia-Pacific Region were given a chance to showcase their talents in the Smart 5G Asia Pacific Pro-Am Invitational tournament, organized by both Gariath Concepts Studios and the Unified Pro-Am Association.
Eight teams were entered into the invitation-only league, including Aegis, Ignite, Jordub, MadMen, Old Man, PlayBook Esports Team, Team Alpha, and Team Beef One.
Notably missing from the list, however, were Bren Esports, a newly formed team that just made its big debut this month, and Laus Group Esports, who won in the recent 2K Veterans League. Some members of LGE are also part of the 2K national basketball team.
Some fans questioned their absence in the tournament. Notably, Gilas rising star (and a Laus Group Esports streamer) Samjosef "SJ" Belangel, expressed his sentiments on the absence of these two teams via Facebook.
"AWIT asan LGE at BREN? No invite?" the Gilas guard asked, with a crying emoji.
CEI issues statement on NBA 2K controversy
Their absence caught the attention of a local online basketball organizer, Countryside Entertainment, Inc. (CEI), who urged for a resolution on the selection process.
According to the statement sent to Spin,ph, Countryside Entertainment Inc. is "a pioneer organizer of NBA2K Veterans League in the Philippines since 2015, the only professional online basketball tournament in the Philippines. CEI — the group behind premier esports team LGC Playbook Eagles — organizes online basketball leagues and other games as it develops local talents for competitive online sports, as part of its efforts to advance the Philippine esports industry."
This organization contacted the Philippine Esports Organization (PESO) to provide a qualifying round prior to the ESGS, and advised the national esports federation to allow the best players to qualify and form a strong league to represent the country.
"CEI urged PESO to step in and find out as to why there were no qualifiers among many esports teams in the country that would have selected the top players and representation for the Philippines," the organization said in a statement.
They added: "Holding a qualifying round would give more esports leagues the chance to advance to the world championship."
With the absence of these two esports titans, Playbook Esports will be competing against fringe teams. The winner of the tournament will get a chance to travel to Las Vegas for the world championships.
The APAC tournament will happen on November 20 to 21, 2021.