MANILA - The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has partnered with an esports organization for a tournament which aims to bridge the gap between traditional and electronic sports.
The PBA Esports Bakbakan, made in cooperation with Dark League Studios, will have 12 teams compete in a single round-robin match for five weeks every Monday, with the top 4 teams advancing to the playoffs.
PBA and Dark League Studios are planning to bring in artists and put up a half-time show.
In a press conference at the Dark League Studios headquarters in Quezon City, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said the event has the potential to bridge the gap between the youth and esports.
"With the growing influence in modern technology, I think it's a win-win situation for both parties, with the PBA and the Dark League Studios," Marcial said.
Some 3,878 people applied for the tournament, with only 70 aspirants to be selected and drafted into different teams on February 13. The teams will be patterned after PBA's franchise teams and employ the same draft mechanics as the PBA.
The team will comprise of 2 PBA players, alongside an influencer or a former professional ML:BB player, a representative from the academe, and the 3 selected fans.
Among the influencers are Elyson "Wrecker" Caranza, Setsuna "Akosidogie" Ignacio, and Eric "Eruption" Tai, among others.
Each team will have 2-3 weeks practice time ahead of the regular season. The ball will be on Dark League Studios to ensure that the players will follow the gaming schedule.
"We will be opening the facilities of Dark League Studios to practice and we will be giving them the liberty to practice themselves," Dark League Studios Project Director Marc Chua said, adding that the fans will be given benefits that they declined to detail for now.
League stakeholders assured that players will be taken care of, and Dark League Studios said they are open to accommodating teams who will be doing scrimmages ahead of their matches.
"The teams will be the one taking care of the players. They are very supportive and cooperative in terms of the schedule ng players but we want to make sure we are in sync with the schedule of mother teams," PBA Marketing head Jo Francisco said.