Telco giant PLDT and its mobile arm Smart Communications have launched their official professional e-sports team called “Omega”, which will participate in The Nationals, the country’s first franchise-based e-sports league.
Globe Telecom, in partnership with gaming café operator Mineski, also earlier unveiled its own professional gaming team dubbed “Liyab”. For Omega, PLDT and Smart teamed up with professional e-sports management group Sterling Global Dragons.
Kicking off on March 17, The Nationals will pit the official e-sports teams of the league’s six co-founding members against each other in top competitive games, including the official Southeast Asian (SEA) Games-sanctioned titles Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7.
As such, The Nationals serves as a hotbed of world-class athletes who may represent the country in major international e-sports events. Aside from PLDT and Smart, The Nationals co-founders fielding their teams are BrenPro, Cignal TV, Execration, HappyFeet Esports, and STI Education Systems.
“Launching ‘Omega’ as our official professional e-sports team reinforces the long-standing commitment of PLDT and Smart to elevate e-sports in the Philippines, as well as provide the ultimate gaming experience for Filipino gamers, fans, and enthusiasts,” said Andrew L. Santos, FVP and consumer marketing head for PLDT and Smart.
“More than being a formidable team, ‘Omega’ serves as an inspiration to fellow gamers, who, with the right support, can be at par with the best in the world,” added Santos.
Gerry Lim, Sterling Global Dragons president, said forming Omega a huge step toward legitimizing and professionalizing e-sports in the Philippines.
“Collaborations like this serve as a platform for the gaming community to empower home-grown e-sports athletes in a holistic way, and enable them to reach their full potential, and set high standards for the community,” said Lim.
In 2016, PLDT and Smart backed ESL One, the first ever major international e-sports competition in the Philippines, which featured DOTA 2 teams from all over the world, including Team Secret and Fnatic.
Both PLDT and Smart also helped put together Manila Masters, the country’s biggest international e-sports tournament in 2017, which brought together eight of the best international DOTA 2 teams to compete in the Philippines.
Since 2013, PLDT and Smart have also been supporting the Esports and Gaming Summit (ESGS), the biggest gaming convention in the Philippines that features exhibits, cosplay competition, and fan games.