COACH Ryan Gregorio can’t tell who plays NBA 2K more: him or his seventeen-year-old son.
The special assistant to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is a self-confessed fan of the basketball video game. Speaking on the 2OT podcast yesterday, November 13, Gregorio admitted, “Tuwang-tuwa din ako sa esports na yan.”
The veteran hoops mentor added: “I play it everyday. Ang tinatanong ko sa sarili ko sino ba ang mas normal, yung 17-year-old na anak ko na naglalaro gabi-gabi or yung 48-year-old na tatay?”
NBA 2K is on the minds of the SBP at the moment as E-Gilas once again girds for battle in the year’s second Fiba Esports Open. The national esports basketball team is going up once more against June’s challengers Indonesia. But they will also be facing Australia as Fiba combined both the Southeast Asian and Oceania cups into one.
“The next question is you think it’s gonna be harder for us because Australia is there?” he said. “The answer is yes. Medyo mahirap din kalaban yang Australia na yan. We’ve played two scrimmages.”
But the SBP is confident in the team’s chances — and the growth of basketball esports in the country. While the players that make up the E-Gilas team are all vets in the NBA 2K’s ProAm scene, it’s still a whole new ball game when you have to represent the country. And the boys of E-Gilas, Gregorio said, are up to the task.
“Yun bang enthusiasm mo every time you’re representing the flag and country, iba talaga yun,” he said.
And as an avid 2K fan himself, Gregorio can’t help but feel a little invested in our success in this arena.
“Talagang I know the sport, I play the sport, and I have a different kind of enthusiasm everytime we play that. I feel like this is one sport talaga na we will really excel,” he said.
Gregorio added: “Maski hindi ka kalakihan, kindi ka katangkaran, may tsansa ka talagang mag excel dito sa esports.”
E-Gilas will play Australia tonight, November 14, 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. Games will be streamed at the SBP Facebook page.