Newsmakers in Philippine esports – Manila Bulletin

While most sports went on a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, esports continued and even grew bigger this year. 

Thanks to its non-contact nature, esports ably provided fans with thrill, excitement, drama and most importantly entertainment during these dark times. 

The Philippine esports scene had its fair share of memorable moments in 2020 and the Manila Bulletin acknowledges the newsmakers behind those notable events.

Bren Esports

Photo from Bren Esports’ Facebook page

Owned by Bernard “Bren” Chong, the black and yellow squad finally grabbed its first-ever Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Pro League (MPL) title to warrant its #BrenLangMalakas warcry. 

Built on the core of SEA Games gold winners Angelo “Pheww” Arcangel, Karl “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, CJ “Ribo” Ribo, Bords “Lusty” Castromayor together with super rookie David Charles “FlapTzy” Canon and sixth man EJ “Ejhay” Sambrano under world champion coach Francis “Duckeyyy” Glindro, Bren coasted to the top of its group, cruised through the playoffs then crushed Smart Omega, 4-1, in the Season 6 grand finals last October

Bren went on to finish runner-up in the ONE Esports MPL Invitational featuring the strongest teams in Southeast Asia and successfully defend its crown in The Nationals against Omega, proving its crown contender status in the upcoming MLBB World Championship (M2) in Singapore. 

The premier esports organization in the country also made waves in Riot’s fast-growing first-person shooter game Valorant, winning numerous tournaments including the First Strike: Mineski VxV, while its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) squad.

Bren bannered women empowerment in the male-dominated industry as well after fielding in an all-girls team in the The Nationals Dota 2 conference and inserting Colleen “Kolin” Cruz in its main Mobile Legends lineup. 

Sunsparks (Aura PH)

Prior to Bren’s rise to the MPL mountaintop, Sunsparks made history as the first team to win back-to-back championships in the most popular professional ML league. 

For the second straight time, Sunsparks broke the heart of its bitter rival Onic PH, posting a 3-1 victory in the Season 5 grand finals which was the first title series to be held online back in May. 

Kiel Vj “Kielvj” Hernandez’s Kimmy across the three wins and former Onic member Allen “Greed” Baloy’s Natalia in the title-clincher were the keys for the black and blue squad. 

Sunsparks rebranded to Aura PH in Season 6 but failed to find the same success as it suffered an early exit in the playoffs at the hands of Onic. 

Abed Azel “Abed” Yusop 

Photo from Abed Yusop’s Facebook page

Abed proved to be the ultimate trendsetter in the Dota 2 ranking system as he became the first player to hit the 11k matchmaking rating (MMR) last…

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