Barren was the usually-vibrant SMART Omega headquarters in Marikina last December 22.
All of Omega’s Tekken, Dota, and Wild Rift squads went home for the holidays with the social media team.
However, left inside was the Mobile Legends team. This as Omega is pulling off all the stops to keeping the team safe amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic heading into the 2021 M2 World Championships.
“First and foremost, it was planned.
“The ML team is competing in Singapore for the M2. As a precautionary measure and as requested by the management, we had to isolate them. We also had to control the people inside the HQ to lessen the exposure to the players,” said Omega Esports Chief Operating Officer Patrick Cruz.
Eleven people will be locked down inside the Omega HQ from December 23 until the team leaves on January 1. These are players Kenneth Jiane “Kenji” Villa, Jeniel “Haze” Bata-anon, Salic “Hadji” Imam, Earin John “Heath” Esperana, Jankurt Russel “Kurtzy” Matira, and Adrian “Toshi” Bacallo; coaches Steven Vitug and Tony Senedrin; performance coach Stark; and support staff — a cook and a security staff.
Besides having a 24/7 staff, SMART also provided the team with fast internet so that everyone inside the Omega bubble can still communicate with their families.
To ensure that the players will have no contact with the outside world, no deliveries and guests are allowed.
Being like the team’s father, Cruz felt sad that the players can’t join their respective families for the holidays.
“It’s sad but I’m proud. These are very young athletes. Nakaka-sad because Christmas is the time of the kids,” said Cruz as the team’s average age is just 20 years young.
“We needed to talk to them that this is their sacrifice for the country.”
There will be no pressure for Omega come the M2 set from January 18 to 24 in Singapore. What Cruz only hopes is that Kenji, Haze, Hadji, Heath, Kurttzy, and Toshi learn from this experience.
“This is a global-scale tournament. The playing style will be different. This will be a learning experience for them to see the schematics of their styles.”