E-Gilas Pilipinas can compete against top teams from Europe, USA

Published July 3, 2020, 5:33 PM

by Waylon Galvez

E Gilas Pilipinas FIBA Esports
SBP’s Philippine esports team that competed in the FIBA Esports Open 2020 last June. (SBP Images)

E-Gilas Pilipinas team manager Richard Brojan said the national team has a good chance of beating teams from other regions if and when FIBA decides to allow matches of countries from different continents.

“From what we saw, I think we have a shot at winning against top teams from Europe, the Americas or from Oceania region,” said Brojan, referring to the games during the inaugural of the FIBA Esports Open 2020.

While the tournament was exhibition in nature, it marked the first for the world basketball body to tie up with the esports community and the NBA2k for the event where 17 countries competed in a three-day tournament.

Because of various time zones and Internet server difference, FIBA’s ‘experiment’ with NBA2k allowed only teams from the regions to play against each other via an online game.

The national team swept Indonesia in a five-game series.

E Gilas Pilipinas FIBA Esports
The E-Gilas Pilipinas team avatars (FIBA Screengrab via Youtube)

Dubbed as the Dream Team, the national team of Aljon “Shintarou” Cruzin, Rial Polog Jr., Philippe “Izzo” Alcaraz Herrero IV, Rocky “Rak” Braña, Al “Alt” Timajo, Custer “Aguila” Galas and Clark Banzon dominated Indonesia with an average winning margin of 33.8 points.

Aside from the Philippines and Indonesia, also in the event are Italy, Australia, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Brojan said that prior to the coronavirus pandemic, teams normally travel to different countries to compete. That he said should be format for FIBA if there is no health crisis.

However, as COVID-19 remains a threat, Brojan said online competition should be improved with the servers.

“The best way to really compete is that you travel abroad and compete with other countries. That’s what we do before the pandemic. But if this continues ‘til next year, one way to do competition with other countries is better server (internet),” said Brojan.

FIBA’s goal in adding esports via the NBA2k is part of the federation’s initiatives to grow the FIBA family.

Plans of having another tournament is in the works as FIBA formed a special committee intended for esports, which includes Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio.

According to Panlilio, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis appointed him to a working team that will discuss the future of esports with FIBA.