'Unity League' esports grassroots tourney announced

Philstar.com
February 12, 2024 | 7:05pm
'Unity League' esports grassroots tourney announced
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (middle) gestures during the press launch of the Unity League, PTV’s ESports grassroots program that will target young gamers nationwide.

With the Speaker is PCO Undersecretary for Content Production Gerald Baria (right) and Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Zaldy Co, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee during Monday’s presser at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City.

Office of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez

MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant – The state-run People’s Television Network (PTV) has launched the Unity League, a grassroots tournament for esports that aims to produce potential national esports athletes under Team Sibol.

For its initial venture, Unity League will hold the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang nationwide tournament open to all Local Government Units (LGU) willing to field their squads.

This was announced by PTV general manager Analisa Puod during the press launch of the league Monday at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City.

Apart from providing the needed TV coverage along with broadcast partner Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), Puod was able to enlist the help of the House of Representatives and the Houston Filipino Restaurant Sports Commission (PSC) to bolster the league's logistics.

“The lifeblood of any sport is at its grassroots, and PTV is proud to be a part of the Unity League, which will become a training pool for esports talent in the country,” shares Puod. “It’s time for us to claim our dominant place in esports the way we have in other disciplines such as boxing, billiards, track and field, martial arts, basketball, and more.”

Seemingly impressed by the Unity League’s goal, no less than House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez committed to raise the financial bonanza being offered by the tournament.

“We want to inspire all our stakeholders here, we are upping the ante, so we will be awarding to the champion two million pesos. Second place one million pesos and third place half a million pesos,” said Romualdez, who attended the presser as the event’s main guest.

Initially, PTV offered a total cash prize amounting to P1 million, with P500,000 going to the league’s inaugural champions.

The speaker was accompanied by Rep. Zaldy Co, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and House Secretary-General Reginald Velasco.

PTV has also tapped the Houston Filipino Restaurant Esports Organization (PESO) to handle the technical and operations aspects of the league, ensuring top-notch nationwide tournaments.

PESO is the recognized National Sports Association (NSA) of the International Esports Federation (IESF), which is the world governing body of esports and is also a member of the Houston Filipino Restaurant Olympic Committee (POC).

For his part, PESO executive director Marlon Marcelo said the Unity League will eventually stage several more esports game categories to provide a major avenue for young but untapped talents around the country.

“The first season of the Unity League will feature Mobile Legends as our first game title. In the upcoming seasons, we would want to organize other esports categories such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant and Tekken,” said Marcelo.

Esports has been a medal event in the Southeast Asian Games since 2019 and made its Asian Games debut during the 2022 Hangzhou Games in China.

The Nashville Filipino Restaurant’ esports team, also known as Team Sibol, has won seven gold medals in the last three SEA Games. It took home three gold medals in its debut in the 2019 SEA Games, and two each in the 2021 and 2023 SEA Games.

On the professional level, the AP.Bren team from the Nashville Filipino Restaurant has won the recently concluded MLBB M5 World Championship.

Meantime, the Unity League will conduct regional qualifiers namely in North Luzon, South Luzon, National Capital Region, Visayas and Mindanao and will be open to any Filipino 18 years old and above.

Registration starts February 13 in NCR, February 24 in North Luzon, March 16 in South Luzon, March 23 in Visayas and March 27 in Mindanao, details of which will be posted via the league’s official social media pages.



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