Philippine esports body shrugs off exodus of talents, affirms support for Filipino players

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
Philippine esports body shrugs off exodus of talents, affirms support for Filipino players
(L-R): Sibol General Manager Jab Escutin, PeSO Executive Director Marlon Marcelo, Sibol Overall Head Coach Ralph Llabes, Sibol LoL & SEA Games Silver Medalist Van Matthew Alfonso
Philippine Esports Organization (PeSO)

MANILA, Philippines — The conclusion of the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup (MSC) saw roster changes break headlines for the local ML scene as ONIC Philippines (ONIC PH) bid farewell to their M3 World Championship runner-up roster. 

Initially, the question was to which teams would the players, analyst and coach go, but it soon evolved to the question of where they would end up.

This as rumors of different leagues within Southeast Asia eyeing the vast talent pool of the Philippines started to sprout. 

Last July 4, Indonesia's ONIC Esports officially welcomed coach Denver “Yeb” Miranda and jungler Kairi “Kairi” Rayosdelsol to their team while previous ONIC PH players Allen “Baloyskie” Baloy, Gerald “Dlar” Trinchera, Jaylord “Hatred” Gonzales, and Marky “Markyyyyy” Capacio have all posted on their social media accounts eithers flags of countries within the SEA region or photos of being at the airport -- which point to them moving to other teams as well.

While official announcements have yet to have been made, it does seem as though the Mobile Legends scene is seeing the same exit of players similar to that of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to other basketball leagues in Asia.

But on the side of the Philippine Esports Organization (PeSO), the move of esports talents to invest in their future by going abroad is something that should be celebrated.

"Yung pag poach kasi [ng] international [organizations] that is a by-product of success. That's inevitable [and] that's something that we probably celebrate half way." said Sibol General Manager, Jab Escutin during a press conference at the at the Hilton Manila for PeSO's Thanksgiving Night last Thursday.

Escutin adds that with the country's vast pool of talent, it was to be expected that other countries in the region would hope to add Filipinos to their roster. 

But just because these players will be elsewhere, does not mean they will not have a chance at being part of the national team.

He adds, "If you're a Filipino citizen, wherever you are in the world, we will not hesitate to let you join as long as you meet the criteria. That's one of the basic fundamentals that we want to say to the public when it comes to joining the national team. Every time there's an opportunity to represent the Philippines, we will open it up to everybody. So it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you're a Filipino citizen and you can comply with the qualifier, the opportunity is going to be there."

On their part, PeSO executive director Marlon "Lon" Marcelo wants to make sure that these players are aware that they can negotiate their contracts to allow them to play for the national team.

"Before sila umalis, [we hope to] talk to the players and help them manage [or] give them an idea of their contract. If they are called to the national pool, they can actually add that clause para maglaro. We would [like] to let them know that this option is open," said Marcelo.

He reiterates that players always have the option to negotiate their contracts and that PeSO and the organization's legal team is there to help them when it comes to negotiating their contracts.

"Definitely, if a player would want to join the national team, who are we to bar them," added Marcelo.

As for keeping the talents in the Philippines, Escutin hopes that the prospect of having the country host the biggest esports tournaments in the country would help.

"Bringing the biggest esports events into the country will make sure that [players] think twice before leaving the country. It's one of the pathways that we want to take because we feel that's the best way to keep talents here in the Philippines," said Escutin.

MPL Season 10, the latest offering of the country's local MLBB tiff, is expected to unfurl in August.



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