Grassroots esports teams play to help feed the hungry, break stigma on mental health


Who would have thought that a mobile game tournament could be an opportunity to change lives?

For GameLab and Redlist, winning the recent GIGA Arena Street League, an esports tournament powered by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) allowed them not only to showcase their skills in Mobile Legends, but also to extend help to those in need.

“Even if we are just playing, we are still able to help different communities who need our support. This event also opened a lot of doors for us and enabled us to enter the professional scene in Mobile Legends,” said Mark Ferry “Dokmen” Nazar, captain of GameLab.

GameLab was able to donate 325 kilos of sustainably grown rice worth P20,000 to Rise Against Hunger Philippines (RAH). The rice is sourced from rice growers in Santa Cruz Occidental, Mindoro supported by Smart’s ‘Buy Local’ program, who are practicing climate-smart and eco-friendly farming system.

RAH and Smart have been partners since December of last year through the “Rice Together!” program to help feed over 19,000 families in Manila, Pasig, and Laguna.

“Everybody has a role to play in addressing hunger. It is very heartwarming to know that the youth are also getting involved, because we are normally supported by big corporations. This donation will go a long way to feed many families,” said Jomar Fleras, Executive Director, Rise Against Hunger Philippines.

Third placer Redlist chose the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, a group of youth advocates that work to elevate the Filipino youth’s consciousness on mental health and end the stigma on mental illness, as their beneficiary. “Mental health is a very important part of our life. Because of the pandemic, this has become one of the biggest issues among the youth,” said Elmer Christian Dela Merced, team captain of Redlist.

Redlist was able to donate seven (7) Smart Bro Pocket Wifi devices worth P10,000 with P1,000 worth of load cards that can be used by the organization to conduct trainings and activities for the youth.

“We would like to thank Redlist and Smart for this very generous gift. This will help us achieve our mission to raise the consciousness on mental wellness and end the stigma. Paulit-ulit naming sinasabi na ang kalusugang pangkaisipan ay isang kritikal na public health issue, hindi ito nabibigyan ng pansin. Wala mang pisikal na anyo, kinakailangan nating pangalagaan ang ating mental health dahil ito ay apektado at nakakaapekto sa ating pangkalahatang wellness,” said Ms Benica Ventilacion, Vice Chairperson for Finance and Legal Support, Youth for Mental Health Coalition. [We have always reiterated that mental health is a critical public health issue, and it does not get much attention. Even if it is not tangible, we need to take care of our mental health because it can affect our overall wellness.]

Empowering the Filipino youth

Following their win in the Street League tournament, GameLab shared that they have qualified in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Development League (MDL), the second official league in the Philippines by Moonton. They are also part of the pool for SIBOL, the national team for esports, who might represent the Philippines in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this year.

“This just shows that events like these go beyond connectivity and the network already. It is about empowering the youth, giving them opportunities to help them support their advocacies, and providing them a platform like GIGA Arena where they can showcase their talents to the world,” said Melvin Consunji Nubla, FVP and Group Head, Go-to-Market and Subscriber Management at Smart.

The Street League tournament held on Smart GIGA Arena ( is in line with Smart’s long-standing support for Philippine esports to cultivate the passion and talent of Filipino gamers. 

Gaming enthusiasts can continue to join local esports tournaments by logging in to GIGA Arena, the country’s first all-in-one esports platform for Filipino mobile gamers. The platform is open to all Smart and TNT customers and lets users match up with fellow players to compete in daily, weekly, and monthly tournaments for prestige and cash prizes. 

To continue enjoying the best gaming experiences powered by Smart, subscribers are encouraged to register their Smart and TNT SIM at and receive 3GB free data upon successful registration.