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The Nationals Starts to Rev Up


Come March 2019, Esports in the Philippines will be rising to a whole new level as The Nationals begins the maiden season of the first-ever franchise based esports league in the country.

For now, confirmed teams and their leaders to compete in this six-conference first season include Bren Epro (Bernard Chong), Cignal Ultra (Jane Basas), Suha (Jobe Nkemakolam), Happy Feet Emperors (Kevin Chung), STI (Mhel Garrido), and PLDT Smart (Andrew Santos). These teams will be competing in Dota 2 (PC), Tekken 7 (Console), and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Mobile) for two conferences each.

Nationals Commissioner Ren Vitug is optimistic that the league will usher in the all-important
elements to give esports the recognition and respect it deserves.
“With the start of The
Nationals, we are taking a significant step in achieving the maturity and accountability needed
for our players to mature and be more competitive. The Nationals can provide stability, exposure,
and opportunity for raw talents - of which we have aplenty – so that they can be harnessed to
their full potential.”  -Vitug

Vitug’s enthusiasm stems from his observation that even without the necessary infrastructure
for the sport, esports has been steadily gaining ground for the past decade.
“Right now, Filipino
esports athletes are globally competitive - but there are still very visible windows for improvement
and growth.” -Vitug.

Vitug is confident that The Nationals will pique more positive interest, invite more people into
the sport, and attract corporate sponsors that will support the 32 million plus gamers in the
country.

League president Kevin Chung shares Vitug’s vision for esports. He says that unlike some
traditional sports, the Filipino is not put at a disadvantage because of his physique. In fact, he
says the Filipino has the innate talent for esports. A part of the local gaming industry for more
than a decade and also the current team owner of Happy Feet, Chung sees the favorable forces
coming together for esports. The Nationals league he says is the critical first step. The inclusion
of esports in this year’s Southeast Asia Games, which the Philippines is hosting, is another boost
in the right direction. He also acknowledges the important role that media can play in setting
aright misconceptions about esports.

Vitug and Chung are leading The Nationals brimming with hope but with eyes wide open. Esports
is accredited and recognized by the Games and Amusements Board. Vitug gives the assurance
that all their teams and players will be compliant with GAB’s policies that include licensing and
drug testing among others. Chung also says now that the infrastructure is being readied for the
esports community, his one big hope is that through The Nationals, they will be able to develop the first national league template that other Southeast Asian cultures can replicate and
eventually unite under one banner.

Chung also says that corporate entities should take serious note of the direction and phenomenal
growth of esports. “For now, investment is still relatively cheap compared to the region and we
have a huge gaming population,” he says. He asserts that there are even players that have
millions of followers.

Chung and Vitug are both moved by their vision for esports as evidenced by their roles in The
Nationals.
“We need to have a bigger vision beyond boundaries. In esports, there are no age limits, no physical borders, no cultural or language barriers. Esports will be shown in The Nationals as a unifying event. The culture of esports is totally unprecedented. The passion, energy, and possibilities are endless and go beyond boundaries. It is paramount that we professionalize and thoroughly legitimize esports, and it’s important to do that now through TheNationals.” - Chung

The Nationals official operations will be headed by the Gariath Concepts team, the company that gave birth to one of the biggest eSports and gaming summit in the Philippines - ESGS; The Nationals kicks off on March 17, and will be aired on EGG Channel on Cignal TV and at 5 Plus
in ESPN5.

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