ONCE the official esports teams that will represent the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games were announced, Filipino followers of the new medal sport were instantly critical of the recent selection, particularly the players that SIBOL handpicked to compete in Dota 2.
The Philippine Southeast Asia Esports Union (PSEU) named Marvin Salvador "Boomy" Rushton, John Anthony "Natsumi-" Vargas, Bryle Jacob "cml" Alvizo, Jun "Bok" Kanehara, and Mc Nicholson "Mac" Villanueva of Team Adroit, as well as James "Erice" Guerra and "Van" Jerico Manalaysay of Cignal Ultra, as the final seven — five starters and two substitutions, respectively — who will don the national colors when the Philippines hosts the biennial multi-sport event .
Notably missing from the chosen group were direct invitees from or formerly of professional Dota 2 gaming teams TNC Predator (Timothy John "Tims" Randrup, Kim "Gabbi" Santos, Armel "Armel" Tabios, Carlo "Kuku" Palad, Nico "Eyyou" Barcelon, Marc Polo Luis "Raven" Fausto), Mineski (Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross Jr., Ryan Jay "Bimbo" Qui), and Fnatic (Djardel "DJ" Mampusti, Abed Azel "Abed" Yusop) that participated in the recently concluded The International 2019 (TI9).
SIBOL Dota 2 coach Paolo "Sandata" Bago took to Facebook to clear up any confusion on the selection process and why the biggest names in Pinoy esports had to ultimately beg off from playing for the flag.
He explained that the invitees and qualifiers (two teams from a qualifying tournament) were scheduled to play for national team spots in a combine last August 29 to 31: "However, because the Combine occurred so close after TI (August 20 to 25), pinili ng mga player na nag-compete sa TI na magpahinga muna and to miss it. This means the Combine only had 10 players from the 2 QUALIFIER teams of Adroit and Cignal."
Bago also cited the conflicting schedules of the SEA Games esports events (December 1 to 5) and the Dota Pro Circuit, whose first and second Major/Minor cycles fall on November 4 to 25, and December 1 to 6, respectively.
"Magkakaroon ng scheduling conflicts yung mga players na invited. They all have commitments to their teams, organizations, and teammates so they have decided to focus on those. There's no other reason other than that," he clarified.
The Fnatic analyst and Tier One Entertainment Creative Director assured local fans of the multiplayer online battle arena video game that they are eyeing gold, especially with their hungry mix of rising stars in Mac, Natsumi, and cml, and the experienced duo of Bok and Boomy. He said, "The SIBOL Dota 2 team and I are committed to doing our best in the coming SEA Games."
Read the rest of Bago's statement: