Road to The Nationals: Searching for esports pro athletes in the Philippines

Road to Nationals (2:53)

The #RoadToNationals was launched Tuesday, with the goal of getting the best esports athletes to play and possibly represent the country in international competitions. (2:53)

There's no denying that gaming in the Philippines continues to rise.

In June, ESPN5 launched The Nationals -- the first-ever esports franchise model league in the country where teams will compete in different game titles across different gaming platforms.

The Nationals, which also aims to be the main pool of national esports athletes for tournaments sanctioned by the SEA Games, Asian Games and the Olympics, will feature six corporate partners -- TNC Pro Team, HappyFeet eSports, BrenPro Inc., Cignal TV Inc., PLDT/Smart Communications, and STI Education Systems -- in its inaugural run.

But who will make up the six teams? That's where the Road to The Nationals comes in.

ESPN5 will roll out a series of esports tournaments, starting August 4, in several parts of the country to search and discover esports pro athletes who will complete the six franchises competing in The Nationals.

The announcement was made during a press conference on Tuesday at a restaurant in Makati.

Each tournament qualifier will feature three game titles for a certain gaming platform: DOTA2 for PC, Mobile Legends for mobile and a console game -- either NBA2k19 or Tekken7 -- which will be revealed in September.

From each game, eight teams will be selected through the initial rounds. The teams which will qualify get the chance to be drafted and sponsored by the pioneer teams of The Nationals. A prize pool worth millions of pesos will be at stake for the three games.

"We are using the Road to The Nationals as the pool of talent to build the teams in The Nationals," says Vincent P. Reyes, President and CEO of TV5. "This is esports like never before. Aspiring esports athletes now have a chance to get into a sustainable playing career. This is their time to seize the opportunity."

"The Road to The Nationals' DOTA2, Mobile Legends, and console game tournaments are all part of our NSA's thrust to grow esports in the Philippines," says Joebert Yu, the president of the newly established National Sports Association (NSA) for esports, the Esports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP).

"The three separate tournaments are ESNAP tournaments. This is officially the biggest push to elevate Philippine esports."

The Road to The Nationals, powered by PLDT-Smart, is also the first local grassroots esports tournament to be featured on free TV. The regional tournaments and the Grand Finals will all be aired exclusively on ESPN5.

The qualifiers for the Road to The Nationals will be held at the following dates and locations:

PC Game: DOTA2 Regional Qualifiers

  • August 4, 2018 - TNC Morayta

  • August 11, 2018 - SM Seaside Cebu

  • August 25, 2018 - Cagayan de Oro Cybersquare Café

  • September 22, 2018 - TNC Bacolod

  • September 29, 2018 - Localhost Café, KBEN Building, MH Del Pilar, Iloilo

  • October 13, 2018 - UGZ - 137 Nueno Avenue, Poblacion 1A Imus, Cavite

  • Grand Finals: October 27-28, 2018 - ESGS, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City

Mobile Game: Mobile Legends

  • The Mobile Legends Professional League Season 2 (MPL Season 2) serves as the Qualifiers for Mobile Legends.

  • Keep visiting https://web.facebook.com/MobileLegendsOnlinePH/ for MPL Season 2 details

Console Game: NBA2K19 or Tekken 7 (tentative)

  • Announcement on dates of NBA2K19 or Tekken7 Qualifiers will be released by September 2018.

For more information on The Nationals and the Road to The Nationals, visit http://TheNationalsPH.com.