WITH THE PBA venturing into the esports scene, it was no surprise that Mobile Legends: Bang Bang would be included in their plans, given the game's popularity in the Philippines.
According to Dark League's head AC Valdenor, that's definitely in the cards.
"Right now, with the concept of PBA esports, we tried to think of how many games should be played for one year. So we decided apat na muna, tingnan na muna natin," the head of Dark League Studios told Spin.ph. (Dark League is the official partner of the PBA in its Esports Bakbakan venture.)
"Yung 90 percent, definitely Mobile Legends is going to be there, Call of Duty Mobile is going to be there, PUBG Mobile is going to be there, Dota, and we're working on a possibility of getting a license for NBA 2K, for the console."
While tapping into these titles is a promising concept, he revealed some challenges that the league might encounter. The NBA 2K's licensing fee is one concern he has to deal with.
"Medyo expensive lang yung license talaga nila e, but again, if they see the potential, especially the market here in the Philippines, I think we can push it. PBA is leading something big in esports, as you can see guys, this is the first time in Asia that a professional basketball league supports an esports program," opined Valdenor.
More seasons ahead?
But that wasn't the only major announcement. Valdenor already declared that a second season is already on the works for the PBA Esports Bakbakan, even though the first season has yet to commence.
"What's going to be exciting for the next season? Definitely I'm telling you right now, there's going to be a next season after this. After this one, if you were able to pull out this concept, to bring a lot of fans, the communities, to go to esports, another draft is coming up," he said.
Dark League already explained in detail how their initial draft combine will work, but Valdenor gave some glimpses on how they can further bring this concept to a different level in order to maintain the league's competitive integrity.
"From that draft, we'll raise the stakes higher. Kailangan dito, pwedeng magkaroon ng mini-community tournaments. We will try to invite na yung mga representatives ng mga amateur champion teams, like mga GameLab, yung nag-champion sa [Dark League's nationwide amateur tournament] Kings League."
And while the high level of competition would enhance their reputation, Valdenor isn't aiming to replace the pro-level nature of the MPL-PH wholesale.
"Definitely we want to make it competitive, but we don't want to do it like a pro thing. It's not the pro scene. Everyone is looking up for MPL, that's MPL already."
He added: "What we wanted to do, is we don't want to close everything to MPL, we wanted to open up opportunities for people. The more people who will join this, the more people who will get interested in actually playing for PBA esports, the more people would download and play Mobile Legends."
It's all about giving esports players in the Philippines more options. "Yung young generations natin, we wanted to give them opportunities, to look or aspire for something na this game that I play, when I tell this to my parents, may pinupuntahan."
"Let's make it a lifestyle, let's make it a culture!" he emphasized.
And there are more ventures coming up ahead. "There's a lot of plans, we want to surprise you pa!"