SBP sees bright future for e-Gilas Pilipinas in esports

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2020 01:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- E-Gilas Pilipinas' dominance in the inaugural FIBA esports Open last month was just the beginning.

Officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) believe the future is bright for the country when it comes to esports, especially with FIBA eyeing more events.

"FIBA is looking at esports basketball in a very big way," revealed SBP executive director Sonny Barrios in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum last Tuesday.

"We are very upbeat about the future of e-games or esports in basketball," he added.

Recently, the Philippines showed that its dominance of Southeast Asian basketball extended into the virtual realm when e-Gilas Pilipinas swept Indonesia in the first-ever FIBA esports Open. 

Playing in the NBA 2K Pro-Am mode, the Filipinos completed a 5-game sweep of Indonesia to claim the Southeast Asian title.

The members of the team -- Rial Polog, Custer "Aguilar" Galas, Philippe "Izzo" Alcaraz IV, Aljon "Shintarou" Cruzin, Clark Banzon, David "Alt" Timajo and Rocky "Rak" Brana -- have since met with SBP president Al Panlilio and chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.

SBP director of operations Butch Antonio said there are plans to meet with FIBA to discuss the future of esports and assess how the inaugural competition went.

"We want to cooperate as much as we can because we saw the potential of our team, and the potential of these games to give glory to the country," Antonio said. "Malaki ang e-gaming community natin, and malakas ang chance na mapag-medalya."

"Hopefully, moving forward, we get to develop the sport and grow it together with the other games, 5v5 and 3x3," he added.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).