Interschool esports in the country is getting a big boost with an agreement that looks to engage more than one thousand teams from over 200 schools with the opportunity to train, compete, be coached, win scholarships and eventually become medal-winning esports athletes.
Fresh from its organizing stint in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games esports competition, Mineski Global has set its sights on developing the school esports landscape. The premier esports organization in Southeast Asia, and the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) have partnered to transform esports into a world-class, big-league competitive sport in schools nationwide. Mineski and PCCL will not only manage and organize the new National Interschool Cyber League (NICL) but will also create a sustainable and multi-pronged esports program nationwide under the banner of the Youth Esports Program (YEP).
“The continued growth and development of esports in the country presents us with another avenue for excellence, sportsmanship, and inclusion. Esports advances not just skills but also values of hard work and determination among all players,” said Mineski Global CEO and founder Ronald Robins.
For its part, PCCL will offer member schools a chance to participate in the new league and develop their own comprehensive esports programs in collaboration with Mineski.
PCCL has a long track record in national collegiate basketball championships and has recently recalibrated its program to include a wider list of activities to help spur participation among students and institutions. “This is the future of sports and competition. Esports is more inclusive than other sports and will help lead even more of our new generation to play competitively and responsibly in tournaments and engage in activities at par with the rest of the world,” said Rey Gamboa, PCCL Chairman.
PCCL is best known for bringing together leagues such as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc (CESAFI).
In 2019, PCCL hosted the Digital Games Championship, its maiden foray into esports which saw 108 teams from various schools participate. A team from the University of the East won the championship.
For this year, Mineski has drawn up a comprehensive schedule of activities to engage students not just in competition but also in training, coaching, and even development of full careers in esports. In addition to tournaments, Mineski has drawn up plans for on-campus activities that will help promote careers in esports, responsible gaming and other esports-related topics for students. Already, the First Asian Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) Colleges, based in Tanuan, Batangas has been among the pioneers in offering an esports curriculum to its students.
“We’ll be exploring ways of training and motivating athletes for careers in esports. This program will also promote esports as a legitimate part of the school curriculum and reveal the positives it can bring to the table,” said PCCL Esports President Chot Reyes. “The same way basketball grew from the grassroots level, we’re now excited to promote and grow esports in the country,” he added. The five-time PBA Coach of the Year and basketball coaching legend is expected to bring esports to new heights.
A Filipino champion gamer, Robins established Mineski Global and its related business units from an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. He hopes to cultivate this as well among young Filipino gamers. “There will be a platform for eventual careers as esports athletes or within the esports ecosystems like game designers, content creators, product managers, event managers, and business developers, to name a few,” he said.
Esports took the limelight in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, as it was included as a medal sport in the regional event for the first time. Filipinos like Caviar “Enderr” Acampado from team Liyab, and co-trained by Mineski, led the national esports team to several victories. Acampado is the lone Filipino gold medal individual winner at the games while Team Philippines won the overall esports title.
PCCL-member schools and esports teams looking to participate in this year’s program can visit the Mineski Events Team – MET Events Facebook page.