Young gamers lead Smart barangay grassroots esports league


BGEL Pasig City

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has recently teamed up with the Local Youth Development Office of Pasig City (LYDO) to launch the first leg of the Barangay Grassroots Esports League (BGEL). Together with Omega Academy, BGEL wants to enable local government units, particularly youth organizations, to connect with their constituents through esports. 

For 21-year-old Tatin Manalo, participating in Pasig’s BGEL was an experience to remember. 

“We competed against great players during the league, but we received so much support from our barangay, especially from the Sangguniang Kabataan of Santolan. Because of that, we have no other objective than to win this battle and make our barangay proud,” Manalo said. 

There were 28 teams who competed in the tournament for the P48,000 prize pool. All teams were recommended by the Sangguniang Kabataan in Pasig City. Manalo’s team, Santolan’s Pride, bested other teams in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) competition of BGEL. 

“To be honest, it was no longer about the cash prize or even the fame. My teammates and I have been playing online games for a long time, and I think this [league] is the perfect platform to promote esports, to show that this is more than just a pastime or entertainment for us, but an actual sport that requires proper training, teamwork, intelligence, and most of all, heart,” the team captain said. 

Aside from MLBB, the young gamers are also anticipating the Call of Duty Mobile (CODM) tournament on September 24 to 26, 2021. BGEL is also supported by the Pasig Youth Development Council with the guidance of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Esports Organization (PESO). On the other hand, Omega Academy is the developmental department of Smart Omega which aims to find and develop young talents in the Filipino esports industry. 

“The Barangay Grassroots Esports League is our way to help our partners in LGUs empower the youth with competitive activities amid the pandemic. As they stay safe at home, one of the best ways for them to stay active is through esports,” said Jude Turcuato, First Vice President and Head of Sports at PLDT and Smart. 

Country’s biggest esports supporter 

Smart has proven its strong commitment and support to the Philippine esports community by partnering with game creators and esports tournament organizers here and abroad, delighting subscribers with exclusive offers, and actively playing a role in PESO, the official National Sports Association that governs and develops esports for the over 43 million gamers in the country. 

Smart also provides Filipino gamers with the best mobile gaming experience on 5G devices with its continuous network improvement. Smart was recently cited as the fastest 5G network in the Philippines by Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis. 

Smart has also reasserted its dominance as the Philippines' fastest mobile network for the fourth year in a row, according to Ookla, covering the first half of 2021. 

Smart also scored a rare sweep in the April 2021 Philippines Mobile Network Experience Awards by independent analytics firm Opensignal, beating the competition across all metrics in three essential aspects of service. 

When asked how important a reliable internet connection is to a gamer, Manalo said, “It’s as basic as this: a basketball tournament without a ring. It’s hard to imagine, right? It’s the same with playing ML with a bad connection. It’s important to have fast connection and strong internet signal to have smooth and limitless moves while playing the game.” 

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