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Sibol Begins its Lakad Matatag to 31st SEA Games

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The Philippine national esports squad, Sibol, has officially begun its campaign in preparation for the 31st Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in Hanoi from May 12 to May 23, 2022.

Sibol completed its lineup in February 2022 following weeks of tryouts, with a total of 55 athletes and 9 coaches vying for the gold medal at the forthcoming biannual regional sports event. Sibol debuted in the 30th SEA Games, powered by Smart, and has since secured more significant sponsors, including PLDT, TV5, Cignal, and realme.

The team unveiled its new logo, a first look at the official jersey, and its tagline, "Lakad Matatag," during a press meeting sponsored by the Philippine Esports Organization (PeSO). This battle cry was derived from PeSO Executive Director Marlon "Lon" Marcelo's world-famous Dota2 caster call.

PeSO is the country’s national governing body for esports. It has been a member of the International Esports Federation (IESF) since 2012 and an associate member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) since 2020.

PeSO also gave a sneak peek at the athlete roster during the press briefing. In attendance were Kristoffer Ed L. Ricaplaza - MLBB World Champion Coach, Christine Ray Roque Natividad - Wildrift No.1 Female team SEA, Angel Danica Quiros Lozada - Wildrift No.1 Female Team SEA, Dennis O. Ramos Jr. - CrossFire FPS game, Ralph Andrei M. Llabres - SIBOL Overall Head Coach, and Jabs Escutin - Sibol General Manager.

Within the next several weeks, Sibol will unveil its complete team, which will compete in all ten esports events at the 31st SEA Games: League of Legends, FIFA 4, CrossFire, Arena of Valor, Garena Free Fire, Mobile Legends Bang Bang (MLBB), League of Legends: Wild Rift, and PUBG. The first delegation is planned to arrive in Hanoi during the week of May 9, 2022.

Currently, the 64-strong Sibol team is training at the Brenn Esports Facility in Makati, which is funded by Smart.

Marcelo adds that PeSO, together with its sponsors are working on a lineup of activities for the delegation to give local and international esports fans an opportunity to get to know them leading to the competitions.

Sibol will be debuting its first all-female team for League of Legends: Wild Rift at the 31st SEA Games, alongside the first-ever twin male athletes who will be competing individually for Wild Rift. With the exception of Jabs Escutin, the 2019 MLBB manager who brought home the gold medal, the roster comprises fresh faces from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

realme will be sponsoring all 64 delegates with a smartphone for their official use.

Sibol made history in 2019 by winning 5 medals (3 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze) by dominating Dota 2, Starcraft II, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7.

Sibol defeated Indonesia 3-2 in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang discipline to claim Southeast Asia's first-ever esports gold medal. Additionally, the bemedaled team will represent the Philippines at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou and the 14th IESF Esports World Championship in Bali later this year. 

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