PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart) recently awarded cash incentives to Team Sibol, 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) medal winners for esports. Team Sibol bagged five medals at the multi-sports competition’s inaugural virtual tilt.
“We are very proud of how well you represented the Philippines in the SEA Games, especially since it’s the first time that esports has been included in a prestigious sporting event,” said Manny V. Pangilinan, chair and CEO of PLDT. “While it may not be as physical as basketball, esports requires a lot of physical and mental effort, and dedication for our young people to excel in this sport.”
“Many years ago, including esports in an International Olympic Committee-accredited event was just a dream, and now, it actually happened, thanks to our partners; the athletes, coaches, and management; and of course, to sponsors like Smart.” said Cignal TV and TV5 president and CEO. “It’s a milestone in the history of esports that we were been able to put it in an international event like this and broadcast to many homes, not just in the Philippines but to the rest of Southeast Asia.”
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Pangilinan and Basas personally greeted and congratulated Team Sibol in awarding the cash incentives. The gold medalists for team events (MLBB and DoTA II) were awarded P2 million. Individual event gold medalist for StarCraft II Caviar “EnDerr” Acampado was awarded P1 million. Tekken 7 silver medalist Alexandre “AK” Laverez and bronze medalist Andreij “Douijin” Albar were awarded P500,000 and P250,000 respectively.
With his team conquering the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) competition, Angelo Arcangel shared that the team would play eight to 10 hours a day as part of their training. Also known as Pheww among his teammates, he said all of their hard work has borne fruit after clinching the gold medal. Smart provided the connectivity and other equipment in the training grounds of Team Sibol.
“The huge support really makes me happy. If not for sponsors like Smart, the team would have not been formed. It is not like we can train individually. The sponsors have really helped us),” said Arcangel.
And as the whole country celebrated this victory, Mobile Legends team manager Jab Escutin noted that this was just the beginning and hoped that the momentum would be sustained.
“I’m pretty sure that since we got an actual gold medal, it’s a signal that [esports] can be an actual career that people can take seriously. There’s a big backing for it. There are a lot more career options for everybody, especially since we are in the digital age,” Escutin said.
Even after the SEA Games have concluded, Pangilinan said that PLDT and Smart will continue extending support to the esports athletes to encourage them, particularly as they prepare for the 2021 SEA Games should host country Vietnam decide to sustain the event.