MANILA - With no sweat, NLEX Road Warriors' Kiefer Ravena and NorthPort Batang Pier's Ryan Araña could drill a three or drive towards the basket, among other things.
But the PBA stars on Saturday showed they have what it takes to be esports athletes as well, as they joined Sibol’s Mobile Legends representatives for the Southeast Asian Games in an exhibition match at the Electronic Sports Gaming Summit held in Pasay City.
Both PBA players broke into two teams and played with Sibol’s representatives in a best-of-three match up.
Individually, Ravena fared better than Araña in terms of kills and experience, especially in Game 1 when he started to heat up as tank hero Franco.
Using Franco’s first special attack, Ravena began offense to help his team catch up and eventually reach the base of the other team. However, that was not enough as KarlTzy snuck up on Team Ravena’s base — undefended — to claim Game 1, despite Team Ravena earning more kills.
At one point, both Ravena and Araña clashed with each other in the offlane, with Ravena getting the kill over the NorthPort player, who had only learned to play on that day.
Team Araña used that momentum and eventually closed out Team Kiefer in the next game.
Ravena said that he plays the game casually with some teammates in NLEX, and felt pumped about playing with the team’s national representatives.
NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao only allows his players to play post-practice, the cager added.
“After practice namin siya ginagawa so we could relax a bit. Very competitive din kami,” Ravena said.
Araña, who had only learned how to play on the day of the game, said he was thankful for the opportunity to team up with the country’s SEA Games representatives.
Like the hardcourt, Araña saw similarities with the mobile game.
“Ang Mobile Legends team game iyan eh. Mayroong strategy, mga role players kung ano 'yung gagawin nila, iyan 'yung tinuro sa ’kin nung mga taga-Cignal. Na ganito yung gagawain natin, especially 'yung first game namin,” Araña told reporters.
Sibol captain Angelo Kyle ‘Pheww’ Arcangel, who played with Team Araña, felt starstruck at the thought of competing with professional basketball players on their playing ground.
“Noon ang iniisip ko sila ‘yung national team eh tapos kami tambay lang. Ngayon nakakasama na namin sila tapos sumusuporta na sila sa ’min,” Arcangel told ABS-CBN News.
Recognizing the growth of online games such as Mobile Legends, Araña believes the local team will claim gold in the upcoming SEA Games.
“Makukuha niyo yan (gold medal) with your spirit and your determination to play this,” Araña said.
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