The Nationals, the Philippines’ biggest esports tournament, has allowed quite a variety of talents to show the nation what they do best. From the different players to the VJs, correspondents, and casters, each have showed their passion and love for esports and their respective crafts.
One of these talents that has taken on a new role as a correspondent in The Nationals is Tonie Moreno. To the esports scene, her name may be fresh but to those that watched collegiate sports, her name may be familiar. Tonie was a courtside reporter for the teams of the University of Santo Tomas.
This may be her first real dip into esports but Tonie felt the passion and the excitement when she covered the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Grand Finals late last year. She recalls the passion and the hype that in that one event that helped her to decide to audition for The Nationals. That and her willingness to try something new.
“Before the event [MPL Grand Finals] itself, I saw these games as computer shop games or small. But I saw just how invested people were in the professional scene and how passionate they were. I also how the players were clamoring and putting in the effort to be recognized as athletes because they really do put in the work.”
As a courtside reporter, her goal was to make people appreciate the effort that the players were putting in the effort and to put into light the stories, the struggles, and everything else that isn’t seen on the court. She saw her role as a bridge between the players and the viewers and fans. Through telling the stories of the players, she was able to make the viewers more in touch with the different players.
“My goal before as a courtside reporter wasto make people appreciate what they were seeign because the sport is just way beyond just the tournament, beyond the game. Because the players put in the effort in their tranings and all. I contextualized what’s happening for them. I guess in that way, for the viewers and the fans, they feel like they’re more in touch with the players.”
Tonie looks to continue being a bridge and the storyteller despite the switch from sports to esports. To get the stories across, though, she knows that it will be a challenge for her because of the more introverted nature of the players compared to sports.
“I think just how introverted the players are in esports will be a challenge. I know that I will have to put in the effort that I have to see them, before games and all. I have to see kung ano yung kiliti nila to get their stories.” [I have to see what makes them tick and what makes them more comfortable to get their stories.]
Her road to being a courtside reporter, and ultimately The Nationals correspondent, came pretty natural Tonie. She enjoyed her share of hosting in college and also became a writer. This was where her love for looking for angles and stories grew.
Prior to this though, she has put in some hours into Mobile Legends and Dota 2 but prefers more story-driven games like The Walking Dead and The Last of Us. While admittedly she preferred Mobile Legends over the more complex Dota 2, she’ll bank on the experience with both games when comes to her reporting in The Nationals.
“My experience with some of the games like Dota 2 and Mobile Legends is an advantage for me. Before I report on a game, I try to experience what it’s like just so I have an idea what the casters are saying.”
Compared to her courtside reporting where she was assigned to the teams of UST, she thinks she’ll have to be more on her toes in The Nationals where she’ll have to be familiar with all the teams. The story telling won’t change though. The context and telling the story of why a team lost and why they might’ve bounced back a week the next game will still be there.
“I feel like that since it’s going to be the same teams din naman, the more you get to visit them, the more you get to build their story later on as they progress in The Nationals.” [I feel like that since it’s going to be the same teams anyway, the more you get to visit them, the more you get to build their story later on as they progress in The Nationals.]
The Nationals, in general, is what really Tonie looks forward to. The world of esports, the games, the passion-driven fans, and seeing the esports athletes grow as The Nationals continues.
“I’m most excited about everything about The Nationals because it’s a new world for me. I’m excited to see the teams because when I read the articles, they have their own fitness coach, nutritionist, counselor, the works! I’m excited to see the games because it’s a new world for me.”
Watch Tonie Moreno and the rest of the DOTA 2 casters and correspondents at The Nationals, the biggest esports tournament in the Philippines.
Catch the action on 5 Plus, the home of esports on free TV every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also watch the livestream via the 5 Plus website, and on OneSports via CignalTV for paid TV.