AT the first Fiba Esports Open last June, the E-Gilas team completely rolled over their opponent Indonesia. In a five-game sweep, the country’s national NBA 2K team took the Southeast Asian crown without breaking into a digital sweat.
Things, however, might be a little different in the next go-around.
The Southeast Asia cup has been folded into the Oceania cup, and the boys of E-Gilas will face off against Australia, which won against New Zealand in the first Fiba Esports Open.
The E-Gilas lineup for tomorrow’s games largely remains intact. Seasoned 2K veterans Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin, Philippe "IzzoIV" Herrero IV, Rial "Rial" Polog Jr., Clark "Clark" Banzon, and Custer "Custer" Galas return to the starting five. Reserves include Rocky "Rak" Braña and Arnie "ElChapo" Sison (replacing Al "Alt" Timajo).
They are coached again by Nite Alparas.
In that first tournament, the team relied on chemistry to dominate the plays, with Custer locking down the defense in a full-court press, allowing for multiple fast break opportunities from Shintarou and Rial.
Their team dynamic is something the team has been working hard on in the lead-up to tomorrow’s game.
“The chemistry is better now compared to last June. The boys have been preparing different ways to play especially with Australia, who are the reigning champions from Oceania,” said Richard Brojan to SPIN Life.
Brojan co-manages Team Pilipinas with Paul Laus from Playbook Laus Esports.
In addition to the Australian opposition, the team has to contend with playing on a brand-new game: NBA 2K21, which has only been recently released.
Brojan said, “We adjusted our approach because of NBA 2K21. It’s a new game. Have to adjust to the new game meta,” referring to the many changes in the overall gameplay compared to NBA 2K20.
Nevertheless, confidence is high that E-Gilas can repeat their feat.
“I’m confident that Team Pilipinas will once again show the best of what our country has to offer in the sport that we Filipinos love — whether it's on the hardcourt or online," said SBP president Alfredo S. Panlilio in a statement.
Games will commence tomorrow, November 14. E-Gilas will play Australia at 5:30 p.m. followed by Indonesia at 6:30 p.m. It will then face Australia again at 7:20 p.m. and then Indonesia at 8:20 p.m.