By: Ed Ubaldo
Dark League Studios, in partnership with the Philippine Basketball Association, officially launched on Tuesday the PBA Esports Bakbakan, a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament to be participated by PBA Players, social media influencers, and fans.
The PBA Esports Bakbakan was initially introduced during the grand finals of the King’s League Season 1 last December 2022, a premier amateur MLBB tournament organized by Dark League Studios, where PBA Players played in a showmatch alongside prominent MLBB social media influencers led by Setsuna “AkoSiDogie” Ignacio.
“Esports is something that is enjoyed by everyone, from students to working professionals. Lahat ng tao talaga nakakaunwind kahit bejeweled lang yan. Everyone has a general knowledge of esports so I think this partnership with the PBA is something like an avenue to further bridge that gap,” said Dark League Studios Program Manager Marc Chua, son of San Miguel Corporation Sports Director Alfrancis Chua.
“We want to bridge esports and conventional sports. We want people to know that esports is not just something like, ‘Kakakompyuter mo lang yan.’ It’s something that is going to grow. Esports isn’t just something that you use in your free time, it’s a culture.”
The tournament will be participated by all PBA Teams. Each team will feature two PBA players, two social media influencers, one MLBB college player, and three fans.
The fans will be selected from almost 4,000 respondents who signed up online. 70 lucky fans will be invited to join the basketball-style draft on February 13 where only 36 individuals will be successfully selected.
Undrafted fans will still have the opportunity to play if teams decide to pick them up when other drafted fans aren’t able to play.
Dark League Studios hopes to bring the game down to the community with this initiative of enlisting fans to play alongside popular personalities in sports and social media.
“For the longest time guys, there’s really a separation between the community of physical sports and esports,” said Dark League Studios CEO AC Valdenor.
“What we wanted to do here is not just to bridge the gap of these people, of those communities but to create aspirations for everyone especially the young generation that you know in esports, you have PBA here supporting the next generation. PBA is now creating programs for the next generation. Bago itong ginagawa ng PBA para sa atin…..We really hope that we combine these two communities.”
The tournament is set to open by late February to early March where all teams will play in a single-round robin Best-of-1 format.
Games will be played every Monday so as not to overlap with the PBA and MPL Philippines schedules.
The top four teams in the elimination round will qualify for playoffs.
The playoffs will be played in a best-of-5 format for both the semifinals and finals in a LAN event planned to be held at the SM Mall of Asia arena in April 2023.