San Juan City—The Filoil Flying Arena in San Juan City played host to a historic event, as the first eSports competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) got underway on Thursday, with the hosts off to a slow start after getting mixed results in their first three matches.
After an exciting opening ceremony that had Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee executive director Ramon Suzara and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino leading officials in declaring the competitions officially open, the Filipino eSports athletes got a victory, a draw and a loss at the start of preliminaries.
The Pinoy athletes beat Malaysia, 2-0, in s Starcraft II Group B match before their counterparts in Group A absorbed a 1-2 loss to Indonesia. In the Mobile Legends: Bang (MLBB) Group B match, the hosts managed a 1-1 draw against Indonesia.
The early results did not dampen the energy of the big crowd, who came early to watch the opening ceremony in an event that marked eSports as a medal sport in the biennial meet for the first time.
Kenneth Fok, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF), is excited this early of eSports in the country and in the region after seeing a warm reception from the youthful crowd, as he paid tribute to those who support their competitions even when eSports was being pushed to be included among the 56 sports in this year’s SEA Games.
“I would like to thank and show appreciation for the Philippines’ government and our friends at the organizing committee for making this dream come true. With the historical 56 sports, organizing these games is no easy thing. I’m proud to say as a technical delegate, AESF is now part of the family,” Fok said.
“So the fans really are the center of this movement and besides delivering quality events, us at AESF, we are building up sustainability of eSports moving forward, promoting the positive image of eSports, engaging in gaps between different stakeholders and of course at the center of this is reaching new fans,” he added.
The Philippines is set to compete in an MLBB Group B match against Thailand before the hosts open their campaign in Group A of the Heartstone competition against Malaysia later Thursday.