As esports becomes a medal event in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines flag will be carried for the first time by its newly appointed national team, Sibol.
Sibol (translated in English as “growth”) is an apt reference to the national team as it signifies not only the rise of esports around the world but also the advancement of esports talent in the Philippines.
In charge of creating and managing Sibol will be the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Esports Union (PSEU), a group under the Philippine Olympic Committee. PSEU is the product of the partnership between the Esports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP) and the Nationals Esports Federation of the Philippines (NESFP). The team is determined to make Sibol a representation of the country’s best gamers, in line with the target of winning gold in the SEA Games.
Sibol will be competing in all six titles featured in the esports event of the 30th SEA Games, which include Dota 2, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7.
Sibol’s quest for gold at the Games starts with assembling the national team.
To start off, several outstanding Filipino esports athletes will be given a direct invite to the team’s training pool. Players from MPL champion teams Bren Esports, Cignal Ultra, and ArkAngel will be invited to the ML:BB pool.
Andreij “Doujin” Albar and Alexandre “AK” Alvarez will be invited for Tekken 7, and Caviar “Enderr” Acampado will be invited for StarCraft II. Members of Liyab will be invited into Arena of Valor, while Jacinta “Jia” Dee and Euneil “Staz” Javiñas will be invited for Hearthstone. To round it up, players from TNC will be invited to the Dota 2 pool, together with the Filipino players from the current Mineski and Fnatic teams.
Joining those invited players in the Sibol training pool are individuals who will prove victorious in the upcoming open qualifiers. Any Filipino citizen over the age of 13 can join the said qualifier. This will happen on August 1-11, 2019. Updates on the team and more information can be found on the official website sibolesports.ph and on their social media pages (FB, IG, and Twitter) @SIBOLesports.
Once the Sibol training pool is complete, managers and coaches will evaluate each player based on their mastery of their respective esport title as well as their compatibility with the rest of the team, among other factors. They will also be part of the selection committee charged with trimming the pool down to the final roster.
The final Sibol roster for the SEA Games will be composed of seven players each for team games (Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor), and two representatives for the individual games (Tekken 7, Hearthstone, StarCraft II).
The 30th SEA Games will be held in the Philippines from November 30 to December 11, 2019. Eleven countries will be participating in the games, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, and Vietnam. The esports competition is scheduled from December 5 to 10, 2019 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan, Metro Manila.