QUANDARIES present opportunities, and it's exactly what the Filipino esports athletes are looking to capitalize on as they wage war in the 2020 Fiba Esports Open this weekend.
"Like any great athlete, innovation doesn't sit well by staying still. With basketball, we're still figuring out how to play at the highest level," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio. "It's an extraordinary time and extraordinary day that sports and esports truly blend."
The Philippines is one of the 17 nations invited in the breakthrough esports competition to be held from June 19 to 21.
E-Gilas Pilipinas will face fellow Southeast Asian representative Indonesia this Friday, in a livestream that will begin at 6:25 p.m. and broadcasted over the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Facebook page, as well as Fiba's YouTube channel.
The online nature of the games truly levels up the competition among the teams, with SBP executive director Sonny Barrios highlighting: "You don't need brawn or height, you only need to play smart to excel here."
For the esports sector, it's also a chance for them to continue growing the budding sport, especially during these trying times as the world grasps with the "new normal."
"We all recognize that esports is a growing passion point of Filipinos and we all wanted to be driving it forward in charting the course for the industry," said Jane Basas, Esports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP) president.
She added: "With this exciting partnership with SBP and Fiba, we're once again at the forefront giving our esports athletes, this time in basketball, an opportunity to shine in the global stage."
Leading E-Gilas Pilipinas are eight-time ProAm champion Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin, two-time NBA2K Asia champion Rial "Rial" Polog Jr., 2017 NBA2K Asia champion Custer "Aguila" Galas, APAC NBA2K20 Global Championship representative Clark "Clark" Banzon, and 2018 NBA2K Asia champion Philippe "Izzo" Herrero IV.
Also part of the team are reserves David John "Alt" Timajo and Rocky "Rak" Brana, coach Nielie "Nite" Alparas, and team manager Richard Brojan.