Going against negative perception of gaming and esports, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said his venture into the lucrative industry with his Team Pacquiao GG (TPGG) aims to help Filipino gamers become a global force in esports.
At the TPGG launch in Parañaque on Saturday, Pacquiao described esports as “the future”, having gone from an online phenomenon to a “legitimate, growing sporting industry around the world with a lot of job and business opportunities”.
“Noong araw kasi, di pinapayagan ang mga anak dahil masisira, mapapabayaan ang pag-aaral. But ngayon kasi ginagamit na siyang skill and talent sa isang tao, pwede mong maipakita,” he said.
Team Pacquiao GG, which plans to gradually enter content creation, organize competitions and discover gaming talent, is a tie-up between the retired boxing star and international agency Veloce.
Among the gaming titles TPGG has set its sights on are Call of Duty, Mobile Legends, Valorant, and Wild Rift.
TPGG will also use its income for charitable activities, Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao was an ambassador for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and was also the basis for a Mobile Legends fighter named Paquito.
‘GOOD GAME’ FOR PH
“GG” in esports slang is an abbreviation for “good game”, usually said at the end of matches as a sign of sportsmanship.
TPGG’s long-term goal is building a national esports gaming team that could represent the Philippines in major events.
Pacquiao said his organization’s purpose is becoming the “pound-for-pound esports heavyweights of Southeast Asia”, a reference to his reputation in boxing.
“Kaya nandito tayo ngayon dahil pino-promote natin, ine-encourage natin ang lahat na gawing seryoso itong mga paglalaro at pwedeng mag-excel sa larangan ng esports at pwedeng sumali sa Olympics ‘pag tinanggap,” Pacquiao said later in an interview with media.
“We will promote and announce and support the young kids, te-training natin sila, tuturuan natin sila.”
Esports has yet to become an official competition in the Olympics. Regionally, it debuted as a medal event at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the Philippines.
While the launch of the TPGG brand already comes on the heels of the 2022 election season, Pacquiao said the partnership with Veloce had already been in place even before the pandemic began in 2020.
The rollout plan stretches into the third quarter of 2022, already beyond the May polls.
RAISING ESPORTS’ PROFILE
The 5 Filipino content creators who are part of the TPGG team are Ghost Wrecker, Superkimbie, Gloco, Een Mercado, and Sh1n Boo, a group of shoutcasters, esports athletes, and philanthropists.
“Parang privilege ‘to na makasama siya sa isang boom,” said egamer and philanthropist Ghost Wrecker. “Naisip ko rin baka mas lumaki ang esports dito sa Pinas.”
Creator Superkimbie added: “Sobrang rare ang opportunity na napansin niya ang community ng esports. Maraming nangangarap, malalaki ang pangarap nila, and now mas mabibigyan sila ng chance na matupad ang pangarap nila.”
Shoutcaster Sh1n Boo said Pacquiao’s influence might change the views of older Filipinos towards gaming.
“Having that name, that influence—a living example of someone making it worthwhile to pursue your dream such as boxing, tapos idol siya ng mga magulang natin . . . Him looking towards esports, making this project, I think it pushes the perspective big time. Malaki, malaking assistance,” he said.
One thing a future Team Pacquiao GG gaming team could look forward to getting, Pacquiao said, is his competitive outlook from boxing.
“I’m expecting excellent and victorious winning. Ang ugali ko kasi, I don’t like losing. Mindset ko is talagang mataas, hindi ako nag-iisip ng losing in any situation.”