This week, FIBA, the International Basketball Federation announced their first foray into esports with its first-ever international esports competition, the FIBA Esports Open 2020. A momentous set of exhibition games will see the top players from the all over the world battle it out on the virtual hardcourt for basketball supremacy. The global tournament will be held on June 19 – 21 and will be streamed LIVE on the FIBA and SBP Facebook pages.
Following the announcement, the Philippines, through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, was quick to reveal our representatives to the historic event. Unveiling a packed roster of the country’s best professional NBA 2K players that have been dominating the Asian 2K scene for years, the team of experienced veterans and rising prodigies comprise Team Pilipinas who will represent flag and country at the global competition.
“Our participation in the FIBA Esports Open 2020 is an amazing opportunity to show the whole world that Philippine Basketball is a force in any arena that it is played in, digital or otherwise.” said Al Panlilio, President – SBP. “We are proud to be represented by the best of the best that the country has to offer and have no doubt that Team Pilipinas will show off the intensity, the heart, and the honor that we have when we play this game that we love.”
The roster is a heavy favorite to win given the caliber of its members and the prestige and experience that they bring to the team with them. Team Pilipinas is composed of: Aljon Cruzin aka Shintarou; 2-Time NBA 2K Asia Champion Rial Polog Jr. aka Rial; NBA 2K17 Asia champion Custer Galas aka Aguila, NBA 2K18 Asia Champion Philippe Alcaraz Herrero IV aka Izzo; Clark Banzon aka Clark; and reserves David John Timajo aka Alt; and Rocky Braña aka Rak. Team Pilipinas will be coached by Nite Alparas.
“I believe Team Pilipinas is a dream team, and I’m just humbled that I’m part of this because I have been playing this game almost half of my life” mused Philippe Alcaraz Herrero IV, Team Pilipinas Captain. “With exceptional mechanics, good teamwork, and amazing teammates under my leadership, we can make it to the top. I’m just happy and excited to represent our country and make the Filipinos proud.”
During the exhibition games, Team Pilipinas will be playing 5 games head-to-head with Indonesia from June 19-21, 2020. The games will be played on NBA 2K’s Pro-AM game mode wherein each player controls a single character/position on the court, just like a real-life basketball game. A good showing here ensures that the Philippines makes its mark as one of the true powerhouses of NBA 2K in the region.
“Our Team Pilipinas is on the cusp of something great here,” said Butch Antonio, Director of Operations – SBP”. The great thing about competing in the virtual realm of esports is that there’s no size mismatch, no height difference, there’s only the dedication and drive to win–something that our sportsmen have always had in spades.”
Catch Team Pilipinas in action from June 19-21, 2020 at the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas Facebook Page!