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ESPORTS

Sibol plots Cambodian invasion

The national Esports squad had set a bigger goal of asserting its dominance when it competes in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh from 5 to 17 May.

After winning four medals — two golds and two silver — last year, Sibol is aiming to bring home more podium finishes in the prestigious biennial meet where the region’s best Esports players are competing for their country’s pride and glory.

Sibol head coach Ralph Andrei “Leathergoods” Llabres noted the team’s improvement that could eventually lead to domination across all titles.

“I think our athletes through the years — most definitely the game sense, the strengths of the athletes — are getting better in Esports and I am expecting better results this year,” Leathergoods said in a recent news briefing hosted by the Philippine Esports Organization.

PESO executive director Marlon Marcelo agrees, stressing that they are armed with an ultimate objective of putting the Philippines on the global Esports map.

“This year, we’re gunning for more titles, more medals, and more wins for Sibol,” Marcelo said.

“The team has been training relentlessly and I’m confident we’ll continue making legacies for Filipinos in the global esports map.”

Similar to its previous format, Sibol opened tryouts to aspiring national team members not to individual players but to teams as a whole.

The tryouts took place earlier this year where Mobile Legends Professional League Philippines Season 6 champion and Mobile Legends M2 world champion Bren Esports emerged victorious in the Mobile Legends category.

Sibol also did the same in other Esports titles such as Valorant, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile, making sure that only the best Esports players will get to represent the Philippine flag next month.

Sibol general manager Jab Escutin said they have a deep bench that could topple those from powerhouse countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and Cambodia.

“We really wanted to have the best players for Team Sibol and the intense tryouts made sure of that. We may have come from different teams playing different titles previously, but now we are united by the shared goal of defending and winning more gold medals,” Escutin said.

The Philippines has been a dominant force since the inclusion of Esports in the SEA Games calendar in 2019.

In 2019, the country topped the medal table with a total of five medals, three of which were gold from Dota II, Starcraft II and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

In 2022, though, Sibol slipped to third place with only two gold and two silver medals as host Vietnam took the top spot with seven medals.

But this year, the Filipinos are eyeing no less than the top spot.

“It’s an honor to support dedicated and talented athletes that train tirelessly to represent our country,” Leathersgoods said.

“We have always believed in their capabilities to dominate the global Esports world, we’re optimistic that Sibol will continue to become legendary in the global Esports world.”

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