2021 was a memorable year for Philippine Esports
After-school computer shop escapades and jam-packed LAN events are still a thing of the past but the world has fortunately opened up enough to allow Filipinos to shine on the world stage again. It’s been another long year with COVID-19, so let’s take a look back and celebrate the many W’s Philippine esports enjoyed in 2021.
Philippine teams weren’t crowned Mobile Legends: Bang Bang world champions once, but twice this calendar year. Bren Esports defeated Burmese Ghouls to win M2 back in January while Blacklist International emerged victorious in an all-Filipino M3 grand final against Onic PH earlier this month.
Filipino dominance in mobile titles continued with Call of Duty: Mobile triumphs on both sides of the world. Tribe Gaming, with Filipino duo Carl “Image” Butalid and Kent “Banned” Nerves, won the CODM World Championship West to cap off a stellar season. Blacklist International.Ultimate, despite being considered tournament underdogs, took home the CODM World Championship East crown just a few days later.
Making a Mark
Dota 2′s biggest prize remains elusive to Filipino talents but that didn’t stop our kababayans from making waves internationally every now and then. A Carlo “Kuku” Palad-led T1 side made a deep run in The International 10 while OB.Neon proved their mettle with a 5th-6th place finish in the Singapore Major.
Filipino sides made their mark in newer esports as well. Frustrated after missing out on Masters Berlin during their time in Bren Esports, Team Secret headed into Valorant Champions with a point to prove. Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan and co. performed beyond expectations and only bowed out of the competition after facing eventual champions Acend. DubsteP has also been nominated for “Best Jett of the Year” in the 2021 All-Pro VALORANT Team Voting by The Upcomer.
Coincidentally, Secret put up a strong display in another fresh Riot game title. League of Legends: Wild Rift held its first global tournament, the Horizon Cup, last November where Secret finished in the top 4. While not considered Wild Rift’s first actual world championship, the result is an indication of another mobile title our countrymen can excel at.
Nurturing the Future
Iloilo-based startup AcadArena recently secured 3.5M USD (PHP176M) in funding during its seed round, turbo-boosting its capacity to host collegiate tournaments and provide esports scholarships and play-to-earn opportunities to students in the Philippines.
AcadArena leaders also gained recognition internationally, particularly with co-founder and chief executive officer Ariane Lim’s nomination for Esports Collegiate Ambassador of the Year in the Esports Awards.
In addition to the much-awaited esports medal events in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, numerous World Championships will be up for conquering again next year.
If anything, the achievements of Filipino teams and organizations this past year go to show that we are more than capable of being heavy-hitters not just in the region, but across the globe.
Bring on 2022.
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