The 30th Southeast Asian Games has come to a close but we still haven’t gotten over the action in the Esports event. This, of course, was esports’ first appearance as a medal sport.
The momentous event had six game titles, or disciplines, where nine countries competed in. These were Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Tekken 7.
At the end of it all, the national esports team, Sibol took home three gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal across four discipline titles to make the Philippines the country with the most medals in the Esports category.
The event had many moments that were both memorable and exciting, like the insane moment between Thailand and Indonesia in Arena of Valor but here are five of our favorite moments from Sibol.
Andreij “Doujin” Albar and Alexandre “AK” Laverez are perhaps the most popular Filipino Tekken players. Like many tournaments in the past, the two shared a moment on stage but at the 30th SEA Games, it wasn’t quite the moment that they had hoped.
The two Filipino players faced off in the Lower Bracket finals which meant that one of the two would settle for bronze while the other would have the chance to contest for gold. Waiting in the gold medal match was the Thai player, Nopparut “Book” Hempamorn. The Thai player was responsible for putting both Doujin and AK were in the Lower Bracket.
Nevertheless, Doujin and AK put on a show for everyone. The two players went through a thrilling five-game match that went to the very last round of the last game. In the end, it was AK that came out on top. Both AK and Doujin were clearly emotional as the match came to a close and watching them go through a brotherly embrace was just a great show of sportsmanship.
AK eventually settled for the silver medal after Book’s Akuma proved too much for the Filipino. Both Doujin and AK bagged the first silver and bronze medals for the Philippines.
The Sibol – Dota 2 comprised of Mc Nicholson “Mac” Villanueva, John Anthony “Natsumi” Vargas, Jun “Bok” Kanehara, Marvin Salvador “Boomy” Rushton, Bryle Jacob “CML” Alvizo, Van Jerico “Van” Manalaysay, and James Erice “Erice” Guerra was in the gold medal match against Thailand. It was here that this moment took place.
The two teams battled it out in a thrilling series. After Sibol took games one and three, while Thailand took the second and fourth games which forced a fifth and final match.
Sibol had a clear plan in mind and that was to brace for the late game. Thailand pressured Sibol early and used it to gain a lead for themselves. With their base being threatened, Sibol held on as much as they could until they found their opening, around 40 minutes into the game. Natsumi on the Phantom Lancer dove the backline of the Thailand squad and ultimately won a massive fight.
With Heart of Tarrasque in the inventory for Natsumi, Sibol knew it was their time to fight back and pressure. They went on to take the win in 47 minutes and take home the gold medal for the Philippines.
The hometown audience was quiet throughout the early and mid-game but as soon as Sibol turned the game around, the arena was as loud as it could’ve been.
Caviar Napoleon “EnDerr” Acampado was one of the two StarCraft II players of Sibol and our favorite moment takes place in the Upper Bracket Finals between EnDerr and the Vietnamese player Tran “MeomaikA” Hong Phuc.
The two were no strangers to one another, having played against each other in the WESG (World Electronic Sports Games) Southeast Asian Qualifiers in StarCraft II for multiple years now. This time around, the first spot in the gold medal match was on the line.
Like the Dota 2 moment, this takes place in the fifth and final match between the two players. EnDerr decided to go for a Zergling while MeomaikA amassed a Roach army of his own. EnDerr had a decision to make at around 8 minutes in the game as he watched the Roach army approach his base.
He ended up deciding for a base race with his Speedlings. MeomaikA had a larger army but the speed of EnDerr’s army was enough to outpace the Thai. In the end, the Filipino inched out the victory by taking out the structures.
EnDerr went on to win the gold medal against Thomas “Blysk” Kopankiewicz in five games. Bagging the third for the Philippines.
The fourth moment, while it didn’t quite end well, it was a thrilling moment in Jacinta “Jia” Dee’s run in Hearthstone.
Jia was on the cusp of making the Playoffs when she faced Malaysia’s Yew “wkyew90” Weng Kean in her final match in Group A. Yew took Game 1 but Jia fought back in the second to force the third game. The third and final match was a mirror Paladin match between the two players. For the most part, Jia was playing with a deficit early on with some unfortunate draws.
Jia drew Zephyrs the Great with four health left and still a pretty healthy board for Yew. Zephyrs is a card that gives the player a card that is highly needed at the moment, for Jia, it just so happened to be Twisting Nether. Twisting Nether destroys all minions. It wasn’t enough to swing the game back in her favor, it was the best play she had at trying to survive. This gave the audience and viewers hope for Jia but again, it just wasn’t enough. She was eventually forced to bow out of the Group Stage to Yew.
Yew finished the tournament with Malaysia’s first gold medal.
Last, but definitely not the least, is the fourth game between Sibol against Indonesia in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. The Sibol squad was comprised of Kenneth Jian “Kenji” Villa, Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno, Carlito “Ribo” Ribo, Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon, Angelo Kyle “Pheww” Arcangel, Allan Sancio “Lusty” Castromayor, and Jason Rafael “Jay” Torculas.
Indonesia was expected to be the toughest match-up against the Philippines and it showed until the very end. Sibol took Game 1 in the gold medal match but Indonesia quickly turned it around winning two games which put them on match point.
Sibol found themselves behind early on in the fourth game but refused to let up. KarlTzy on Esmeralda proved quite a handful for Indonesia. This gave Sibol the confidence to fight without Kenji who pressured Indonesia across the map on the Chou. Pheww on Granger was also given free reign to deal damage with Indonesia focusing on KarlTzy. Sibol regained control of the game and eventually forced Game 5.
With momentum in their favor, Sibol impressed in Game 5 and took home the first gold medal in esports and for the country.
The esports event for the 30th SEA Games proved to be historic and while there are a lot more moments during the big event, these were legendary and for sure, will be talked about for a long time to come – at least until the next SEA Games in Vietnam where there will be new moments and stories for sure.
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