All 'troops' deployed, as esports makes historic SEA Games debut

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 05 2019 12:11 PM | Updated as of Dec 05 2019 02:08 PM

Spectators watch the opening of the eSports competition at the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City on Thursday. The game of eSports, already a multi-million-dollar industry with a vast global reach, is only debuting as a sport in the biennial meet. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- With six medals at stake, competitive video gaming or esports debuted in the Southeast Asian Games at the FilOil Flying V Center on Thursday, effectively putting it on the same pedestal as other sporting events in the biennial multi-sports competition. 

Perceived to be one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide, esports has taken a much bigger stage with higher prize pools on the line. 

Now, as it makes its multi-sport event debut in the SEA Games, nine countries will parade some of the region’s best athletes in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Hearthstone, Arena of Valor, Tekken 7, Starcraft II, and Defense of the Ancients II (Dota 2) — bannering national pride. 

Malaysia and Vietnam will open the tournament in the Mobile Legends: Bang Ban qualifier rounds to be held at around 12:15 p.m., Thursday. 

Flagship Philippine national team Sibol‘s 27 players, who are bidding to strike six golds, will start their campaign at around 6:55 p.m., when Jacinta “Jia” Dee takes on Malaysia’s Yew Weang Kean in PC card game Hearthstone. 

Sibol will then take on Thailand in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang qualifiers at 8:40 p.m. 

The livestream of the games will be available on Sibol’s official Facebook page

2019 SEA Games