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How the anticipated showdown between BTK and Sibol came to be

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
How the anticipated showdown between BTK and Sibol came to be
RMC organized an exhibition match between Sibol and USA's BTK
Courtesy of realme

MANILA, Philippines — MLBB fans were glued to Season 6 of the realme Mobile Legends Cup (RMC) Grand Finals last Sunday hoping to see the most anticipated match-up come to fruition, SEA Games gold medalist Sibol going up against M3 Bronze medalist BloodThirstyKings (BTK) of the United States.

BTK had faced off against Setsuna “Dogie” Ignacio’s Aether squad the previous week in a streamed match, it was there that Ignacio had hinted that BTK would be facing off against the national team in the following Sunday.

Fanning the flames, BTK captain Michael “MobaZane” Cosgun said in his livestream that "It would be nice to beat a gold medalist."

This garnered a reply from the national esports team Sibol who then released a statement on Friday, June 3, accepting Cosgun and BTK's challenge, stating they will be at RMC on Sunday.

"If Team USA wants to face us, you know where to find us," they said.

When the time for the promised showmatch came, it was instead Ignacio who went on stage with a team he had managed to put together and the countdown timer for the drafts began. 

Many swarmed the comments, disappointed about the turn of events but as the countdown clock hit zero, the lights at the SMX Convention Center went out in what appeared to be a blackout -- until the lights flashed red and Cosgun's voice rang through the room repeating his initial challenge as BTK made their way to the stage.

The highly anticipated show match did not disappoint as both teams turned the match-up into a series with BTK eventually winning 3-2 against SIBOL with realme's stream of the event reaching a million views.

Speaking to Philstar.com about the event last Sunday, realme's Vice President for Marketing Austine Huang shared how the RMC has also redefined the meaning of an MLBB showmatch.

"RMC is home to never before seen show matches; from Season 2, where Choox made his first on ground appearance to face Akosi Dogie, to Season 3 where Akosi Dogie and Choox teamed up to face Cong TV; and Dogie facing Kiko Matos during Season 4. So when we partnered with SIBOL, right there and then we knew we had to invite them for the show match, but finding the right opponent to match their expertise in the land of dawn was both exciting and challenging. Coincidentally, we learned that BTK was planning to visit the Philippines so we reached out and ask them if they would be interested to join the grand finals," shared Huang.

It had not been easy to finalize the details for the match-up, one of the reasons why there wasn't an official announcement regarding the clash. But Huang and the team behind RMC were grateful for how the event eventually turned out.

Besides the finer details, the logistics of keeping the match as a surprise and not being spoiled wasn't easy on their part.

"We were also constantly doing social media listening to react to the different situations that would have to arise, like the suggestive video from Doggie and the hints from BTK. Those were really not planned out, but we guess it contributed to the overall hype and noise," said Huang.

Supporting the esports industry

Besides realme's campaign to support Filipinos in their different interests like music and content creation, gaming has also been a focus of the company.

Last February, it was announced that realme would be Team Sibol's official smartphone partner.

“I’m ecstatic that realme became our official smartphone partner for Team Sibol 2022. They have been known to assist and help develop esports at the grassroots level for many years now,” shared Philippine Esports Organization (PESO) president, Brian Lim during the announcement.

Discussing what is to come for realme after RMC, Huang previewed what is in store for their #realmeSupportsEsport campaign.

"We plan to strengthen our presence in the local esport scenery through the different collaborations we are currently cooking up together with Sibol.  Aside from this, we are also preparing for the spin-off tournaments for gaming, not just for Mobile Legends but also for other esports game such as PUBG, whom we have also partnered with on a regional SEA scale. Moreover, we are also in the lookout for a pro-team to work with for the upcoming MPL tournament," said Huang.

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