Athletes shifting careers in sports are a rarity in the industry but there a few instances wherein an athlete feels burned out and wants to change sports to diversify their careers. An example of this would be six-time NBA Champion Michael Jordan who announced his retirement in 1993 to make a pit stop in baseball, before eventually returning to the NBA a year and a half later. However, sports are not the only options an athlete has to choose from—eSports are a good example.
The Philippines is no stranger to eSports, being regarded as one of the forefathers of the scene. Because of this, these sports are well-recognized internationally. This has greatly influenced the college level where people have organized tournaments for them to showcase their gaming talent. With the rise in popularity of video games such as League of Legends (LoL), Defense of the Ancients 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, the Rivero brothers, Aljun Melecio, and Emy Dael have left their respective teams to pursue the career of eSports.
After their defeat against the ADMU Blue Eagles, Aljun Melecio decided to quit college basketball. As an avid Dota 2 player, Melecio has reached Divine 5-star immediately after the inclusion of the new ranked system.
TNC Pro Team, one of the biggest eSports organizations in the Philippines, has since established its sister team, TNC Tiger. Luckily for Melecio, he was thoroughly scouted and has passed the team’s standards of skill level. Melecio and Theeban “1437” Siva are the only players to be revealed in the new roster as of now.
“It has been a rough four months for me as I have consulted my loved ones, but I have come to a decision to follow my real passion—and I’m looking forward to my future with this team,” Melecio explains.
Under the in-game name “AJM3GOD”, he will be looking to be an integral part of carrying the team, just like how he did it during his days playing basketball.
League of Legends
Months after the DLSU Lady Paddlers’ four-peat, reigning MVP Emy Dael announced that she will be retiring from table tennis and will pursue a profession in the world of LoL.
Although Dael only started with the game recently, she has been making headlines across the country after reaching the highest rank in the game, Challenger, in just 150 solo rank games. She has been revered as one of the best LoL players the Philippines has seen and is also currently being compared to Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok who is regarded as the best LoL player of all time.
News about Dael’s achievements spread like wildfire internationally which resulted to her being called upon by South Korea’s SK Telecom T1, where Faker plays, to visit Seoul and tryout for the team. After months of speculation, SKT T1 announced that she would be included in the roster as the back-up Mid Laner of Faker.
With the announcement made, Dael makes history not only for League but for the Philippines as well. She is the first woman to be included in a Korean team and first Filipina to join an international eSports team. Dael shares, “Sobrang honored talaga ako na ma-recruit ng SKT at ma-rerepresent ko ang Pilipinas sa international stage.” She adds, “Syempre ma-hohomesick ako pero alam ko na everyone will support me.”
Communication won’t hinder Dael from performing in the 2018 LCK Summer Season as she has stated that she is fluent in speaking “Korean” after watching numerous Korean drama shows.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Following the recent controversy surrounding Prince and Ricci Rivero, the Rivero brothers will be taking their talents to Twitch.tv where they will be hailed as Twitch partners under the CS:GO title.
Having been exposed to the game of Counter-Strike since their grade school days, the Rivero brothers are no strangers to the game and the eSports scene as they have both been ranked Global Elite for the longest time and are avid fans of top teams like FaZe and Cloud 9.
Ricci said in a joint interview that they will use their time off from the UAAP to pursue a streaming career. They will be streaming their games on separate accounts and the proceeds will be used to fund their college education.
“Malaking pagbabago, pero sa tingin ko naman kase, ‘di talaga mawawala fanbase namin kaya malaking advantage para sa publicity ng stream namin,” Prince explains.
(It’s a very big change in general, but in my point of view, our fanbase will never fade, which is why it is a big advantage for the publicity of our stream.)