May 22, 2024
VISION FOR ESPORTS CAPITAL — Philippine National Esports League co-founders Hector Pantollana and Atty. Ronaldo Renta are hopeful more young Filipino gamers will form their own teams and become competitive in esports events, which is also becoming a primary source of income among young adults in the country. — Contributed photos

The country needs to discover grassroots esports players and teams who can become legends in their own right in order for the country to make a mark in the world of esports, according to the Philippine National Esports League.

PNEL, a non-profit, non-stock organization, with active members now based in the Cordillera, especially Baguio City, is relentlessly finding ways for the common barangay gamers to build their own teams.

PNEL said after forming teams, these grassroots teams must  challenge other teams, practice and show off their skills, and be recognized by their respective local government units, or by private organizations or institutions  until they can reach international heights. 

It is the grit of PNEL that pushes teams like the amateur squad Maharlika (MHRLK) to be recognized side by side with Blacklist International members during the official Sibol MLBB roster for the 14th International Esports Federation (IESF) World Esports (WE) Championship in Bali, Indonesia back in 2022. 

At the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, the country’s Sibol MLBB women’s team has been assured of at least a silver medal finish while the Valorant team could not sustain its perfect start and settled for a bronze in the esports events on May 10.

Coming from humble beginnings themselves, PNEL co-founders Hector Aldwin Pantollana and Atty. Ronaldo “Lease” Renta saw PNEL as a vehicle to give back to society. 

To date, its total prize pool has reached millions of pesos for its private and LGU-based leagues.  

PNEL is the only esports organization that has its own esports-centered school, the Esports Academy of Asia Pacific (EAAP), and is the only organization with an application called the PNEL super app, where gamers and esports players can meet, build teams, challenge other teams, and be recognized and awarded for their gaming prowess.

PNEL has also created one of the largest esports tournaments in the country. 

Now in its fourth season, “Annihilation” took place on April 15 at the University Arena of the City of Dasmariñas. 

Through “Annihilation 4”, PNEL has created another milestone with its P4 million prize pool. Gaining momentum from past Annihilation seasons, “Annihilation 4” was the biggest Mobile Legends: BangBang (ML:BB) tournament organized by PNEL as to date. 

Attracting the attention of 43 million Filipino gamers and the country’s gaming industry, where 74 percent of these online gamers play on their mobile devices, “Annihilation” is expected to hit more than three million in social media sites, especially in Facebook. 

This is in comparison to the previous season that was able to reach a couple of million gamers though lesser known than those from other leagues.

About four out of every 10 Filipinos are active online gamers, making the country a possible haven of esports legends since despite the “inadequate infrastructure and decent internet connections. 

For more information on The Annihilation IV Tournament, visit https://pnel.net, or https://www.facebook.com/pnelofficial/ – David Gualin