Mobile Legends: Team managers share training challenges amid pandemic

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 12:38 AM

Mobile Legends ABS-CBN News/File 
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang at the 30th Southeast Asian Games esports competition held at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City on December 06, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

SINGAPORE—Constantly changing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel protocols across the world continues to pose a challenge to Mobile Legends: Bang Bang teams as they prepare for local and international competitions, club managers said Wednesday. 

In a virtual interview with media here, Rovin Manapat, manager of Philippine champions Blacklist International, acknowledged some hiccups when they processed the papers of some players, particularly Calvin "OHEB" Soriano and Edward "EDWARD" Dapadap, who are both 17 years of age, with the vaccine requirements before travelling here for the M3 World Championships. 

"Kasi di ba [noon] ’yung mga minors hindi pa inaallow sa atin sa Pilipinas, na may vaccine agad sila. So ’yun nahirapan kami doon," Manapat told reporters in a virtual press conference. 

The Philippines only started vaccinating minors early-October, but at the time it was only limited to minors with health risks. It was only early November when the vaccination drive was opened to the general pediatric public, albeit limited to kids aged 12 to 17 years old. 

Currently, both OHEB and EDWARD are cleared to play and on Blacklist's official roster for the world tournament. 

Another struggle, Manapat said, is having separate scrimmages with rooms during quarantine period, as compared to when they had scrimmages in boot camps during the local season. 

"Nahirapan kami sa mag-scrims na hindi kasama sa room. Mahirap ’yung nasa-Discord lang tapos naguusap-usap kami ganiyan," Manapat said. 

Brazilian squad Red Canids also had to deal with problems setting schedules for immunizing their youngest wards, adding to the fact that they started their inaugural MPL season in the middle of the pandemic. 

"The main challenge is to get the players, the youngest players to have the second dose ahead of time because due to the scheduling of vaccination in Brazil some of the younger players would probably not get the second dose in time if they were to just obey the previous schedule so we had to run around and get them vaccinated as fast as possible so they could reach M3," Geraldo Barbosa Rodrigues Junior, team manager of Red Canids, said in Portuguese. 

M3 host Singapore's ML:BB teams were also no stranger to pandemic struggles, especially in the local league as gatherings remained restricted, and teams had to resort to digital means, such as meeting through Discord or sharing screens to train. 

"I think the biggest challenge is recently in Singapore, they limited [gatherings] to two persons. So it's very hard for us to meet as a group of five. With the coach and the managers also. It's very hard that we have to split our team up," Chong Ru "Soul" Chyi, manager of EVOS SG, said. 

"And I think that's a very big challenge because as you know you have to communicate from like, say Discord, and it's just not the same with the communication. So I think that is a very big challenge"

It was only in November 22 that Singapore allowed 5 persons to gather in a household per day for social gatherings. Prior to that, as Singapore faced an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the city-state only allowed 2 people to visit a household per day. 

Benjamin Lim, regional operations manager of RSG Singapore, echoed Soul's statements. 

"The safety restrictions here are really very strict and pre-pandemic we could just meet up. Really being able to connect with your teammates and being on the same room makes for a more conducive environment compared to something that's online," Lim said. 

Teams that had players fielded in for M2 earlier in the year, such as Vevo Keyd and TODAK, banked on past experience to prepare all the necessary documents. 

In the case of Vivo Keyd, with two players who have already played in M2, also held during the pandemic, they shared their past experiences to prepare documentation required for the tournament. 

"Two of the players have already played on the global stage during M2 in a COVID situation. Basically they just share their experiences with the rest of the team and they were well-prepared to make the arrangements needed to come to Singapore. They've been training as they have been for the past year and they are prepared," Vivo Keyd manager Godman Cabral said in Portuguese. 

Cabral was referring to Mayke "Mayke" Melo and Luiz "Luiiz" Henrique, who were part of the Dreammax team that participated in M2. 

All teams are in Singapore for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championship to be held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre from December 6 to 19. 

The tournament will be open to a limited live audience, which Manapat said is something to look forward to. 

"Gusto ng team 'yan eh. Nakikita nila 'yung may crowd talaga. Ayun parang excited sila. Gusto nila 'yung ganon," Manapat said.